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1 October Newsletter October 2016 Principal s Corner Dear Parents/Guardians, Welcome to Willmar Middle School and the start of the school year! We have had a great start to the school year! Staff and students have worked extremely well together with all the construction currently going on. We are gearing up for the new science classroom additions on the north and west areas of the building, and the vision is to be functional in January We currently have the largest student population since we became a middle school with around 980 students. Kudos to our 6 th graders as they have done remarkably well in figuring out all the nuances and responsibilities of being a middle school learner. Part of our message we shared with the students during the first weeks was the following: Come prepared to learn each and every day Be respectful to all in our building 125 The number of adults in this building to help students Get involved yearbook, clubs, sports, musical, 21 st Century D.E.L.T.A. Club, etc there is something for everyone! As a staff, we want our students to hear a consistent message that learning is our priority. Our mission was to create a system that provides students the extra support and time in order to reduce the amount of missing work, improve the quality of assignments, and create a culture of learning. We will work hard together to continue this success! The start of each school year is exciting because of the energy our students, staff, parents, and community members bring to it and all the possibilities of working together to provide the best possible educational experience for all our students. Stay involved at school by maintaining contact with your children s teachers. If you have not done so, please sign up for Campus Portal (Parent Portal). Campus Portal is an information connection between teachers, parents, and students to help improve student achievement. Campus Portal connects parents and students to student data online, anytime, from anywhere! Also, check out our web site at middle school/ or click on the Middle School tab at the Willmar Public Schools website. We have an amazing staff at the middle school and look forward to working as a team, students, parents, and school, to make the school year a successful learning experience for everyone! Inside this issue: Spotlight on Communications & Physical Education Winter Sports Sign up Web Page Access Attendance Information 21st Century October Social Worker Minute Counselors Corner From the Nurse Texting. Sexting, Cyberbullying, Bullying Activity Night Calendar Events Willmar Community Ed Term 1 Ends November 4th Sincerely, Mark W. Miley, Principal Amy Sack, Assistant Principal Gretchen Baumgarn, Dean of Students Report Cards will be sent home with students on November 14th

2 Spotlight On: Human Performance and Wellness Overview: The Human Performance and Wellness (HP&W) students at the Middle School have class all school year with sessions occurring every other day. We believe it is important for our students to be active all year long. It is our hope that this will allow students to develop healthy activity habits that will last them a lifetime. Many activities are covered over the course of the school year. As part of the curriculum, students will have five day units which include (but are not limited to) tennis, football, soccer, swimming, weight training, fitness, vollleyball, floor hockey, basketball, badminton, lacrosse, cricket and softball. Gym uniforms are required at the Middle School. When parents pay the student registration fee, $15 of that fee is the uniform. The Physical Education staff believes that a uniform is part of a healthy hygiene regiment. Parents will be notified on the third occasion that a student is not in uniform. At this time their grade is affected. On the fourth instance, the student will be asked to visit with administration and come up with a plan that allows them to correct their uniform situation. Human Performance and Wellness classes will continue to focus on effort, preparedness and respect (things that require a student to perform and be well). In addition, skills and comprehension assessments are a part of the human performance and wellness grade. Meet the Middle School HP&W Teachers: Dain Kalkbrenner: Mr. Kalkbrenner is from New London. He attended Concordia University in Moorhead and is a football and wrestling coach. This is Mr. Kalbrenner s second year at Willmar Middle School. Jenyne Beehler: Miss Beehler is from Willmar. She attended Southwest State University. She is back for her 18 th year of teaching in Willmar. She was at Roosevelt for 10 years before coming over to the Middle School eight years ago. Samantha Nelson: Mrs. Nelson is from Atwater. She attended Gustavus Adolphus University and is back for her third year of teaching at Willmar Middle School. Spotlight On: Communications The Communications department welcomes a new school year. Our classes are off to a great start! At the Middle School, we have set a reading goal for each student called Reader s Dozen. Each student is set to the task of reading 12 books by the end of the school year. The Communications teachers will keep track of that in their classes and a reward will be given to those students who reach their goal at the end of the school year. In order to become a better reader, one has to read more. Here are a few hints to get your child reading more and to help him/her reach his/her Reader s Dozen goal: Help your child find newspaper articles, magazines, and books that interest him/her. Consider asking a librarian or Google for suggested reading lists. Ask your child about what he/she read. Ask questions that start with why or how. Examples: Why did that character do that? Why do you think he is the bad guy? How did you know that? How did you know it was going to end that way? How would you have written it differently? Page 2

3 logon to WPS Website - Set reading goals. Be realistic with schedules and responsibilities, but create a reading goal and post it somewhere that is easily seen. The goals can be a certain amount of minutes of reading in a specific time or the number of books read in a certain time. Have a reward ready when the student meets the goal as an incentive to meet the goal and continue on to another one. Share the reading responsibilities: read out loud to your child. Even the thirteen and fourteen-year-olds love when adults read to them! This also allows an easy way to talk about the reading with your child. Speed reading is not the trophy: it is okay if your child reads slowly, but be sure to encourage correct pronunciation. Celebrate with comments such as Awesome job reading today! or You are doing so well! It is more important that kids understand what they read instead of how fast they read. Write about the reading. Human brains process understanding a lot better when having to restate events or teach someone else a skill. On average, students who write about what was read show an increase in understanding above the students who do not write after reading. Thank you for encouraging our next generation of readers and helping them to become better students. Winter Sports Sign-up!!!! Winter Sports Sign Up is going on now. All students participating must turn in completed registration forms/permissions before participating! WINTER SPORTS SCHEDULES Parents... Stay current with your Child s sports schedule simply by logging on to our website! View and print schedules. We re on the Web Willmar.k12.mn.us Check schedules for cancellations and postponements when inclement weather occurs. Get locations and directions to out-of-town facilities. click on WHS Activity Calendar at Central Lakes Conference under Quick Links to view/print a particular sports schedule go to View Schedules on right of screen scroll down to selected sport and click to highlight click View Page 3

4 ATTENDANCE -TARDINESS POLICY Students tardy for 1st hour should report directly to the attendance office for a pass. Oversleeping, missing the bus, or not having a ride to school will be considered an unexcused tardy. If you are tardy between classes, you are to go to your next class. Students with NO unexcused tardies during the term will receive a free cookie pass. Students with one or more tardies will be subject to the following policy: On the Third Unexcused Tardy in a class or 5 overall tardies: 1. Student must attend 8 th hour (2:46-3:15) the following day, parent notified by mail. 2. Any further tardies will result in 8 th hour detention for each tardy. 3. Failure to attend 8 th hour will result in 2 days of ISS lunch. Students will not be able to attend WMS Dance/Activity Night that term. 21 st Century (DELTA) Programming Begins Again at WMS! On October 3 rd, the 21 st Century DELTA (Determination, Enrichment, Leadership, Talents, and Achievement) Program started at Willmar Middle School. This program is funded through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education using federal funding, CDFA c, and 21 st Century Community Learning Centers. The 21 st Century DELTA Program works toward 3 main goals. These goals are as follows: 1) Increase participants opportunities to develop and apply 21 st Century skills, 2) Increase school and community connectedness of participants, and 3) Increase the academic performance of participating students who are low performing/failing or at high risk of failing in core academic areas. To address the 3 goals listed above, DELTA programming is available to all students, grades 6-8, on Mondays through Thursdays from 2:46 to 4:30 at Willmar Middle School. DELTA is fully supervised with current certified staff as well as paraprofessionals and 21 st Century Leaders. During programming, the students are afforded a snack, a daily activity that corresponds to the requirements laid forth by 21 st Century Programming, and a sack dinner. Activities during 21 st Century programming range from team building events to academic enrichment, and everything in between. New to DELTA this year is the implementation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) modules. After dinner, students walk home, are picked up by parents, or board a bus to be brought home if they live within Willmar city limits. In addition to programming Monday through Thursday each week, field trips will be taken once a month, generally on a Saturday, for regular attending participants. Field trips in the past have included, but are not limited to the following: Prairie Woods of Spicer, Twins games, Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Valleyfair, etc. All of the aforementioned weekly programming, meals, and fieldtrips are at no cost to the participants or their families. The staff of the 21 st Century DELTA Program is looking forward to a great year and hope that your child can partake in all of the fun filled and worthwhile activities. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the 21 st Century (DELTA) Program, please feel free to contact the site coordinator, Matt Foss, via phone at or at *This institution is an equal opportunity provider.* Page 4

5 October Social Work Minute Annette Tiffany October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Parents play an important role in preventing and responding to bullying. If you know or suspect that your child is involved in bullying, there are several resources that may help. Take a little time to learn about bullying and how you can help your child. Together you can check out the website TeensAgainstBullying.org. This website was created by and for teens. It is a place for middle and high school students to find ways to address bullying, to take action, to be heard, and to own an important social cause, including: Learn how to recognize bullying behavior. Explore methods to respond effectively. Review common assumptions, then decide if they are Definitely True or No Way. Language is Important: The way we talk about people impacts how we think about them. Reasons Teens Don t Tell: Learn some of the reasons and a way to reframe the conversation. Real Teens Speak Out: Stories from teens and for teens. Peer (School) Projects: Ideas for school and community engagement. Another resource is stopbullying.gov, a website full or information and ideas for students, parents, educators, and the community. Working together, we can all help our students to be safe, welcoming, and comfortable at Willmar Middle School! Page 5

6 Counselor s Corner: Tips for Helping Your Child Succeed in Middle School By: Alison Scheffler Middle School can be a difficult transition for some students. In Elementary School, students generally have one or two teachers for their core subjects, stay in one classroom for most of the day, and see the same students in each of their classes. At Willmar Middle School, students will have a different teacher for each subject, have different students in their classes, and move from class to class. Generally, the level of accountability and responsibility they have is increased. In this transition phase, it is especially important for students to build good study habits. Parents/Guardians play a big role in this process more than they realize. Here are some suggestions for how to help your Willmar Middle School student succeed: 1. Students have 6-7 different classes and will have homework almost daily. 2. A great organizational tool for your child is a planner/agenda book. Students can write down their assignments and the day they are due. 3. Set aside homework time every night in your home and make yourself available during that time, as well. If your child has a question about their assignment, they need a person there to help them figure it out. 4. Make sure there is no T.V. on or any other major distractions during the time your child is doing their homework. 5. If you don t know the answer to the question, help them figure out who/what can. Try the textbook/materials offered, google, youtube, etc. Can your son/ daughter go in to school early or stay after school to ask a teacher? (Yes! Teachers have meetings on Tuesday and Thursday mornings but only until 7:45.) 6. When studying for a quiz or test, offer to quiz them on the material. Other helpful study tips include making note cards to study off of, making a game out of the information they need to know (i.e. Jeopardy), using acronyms (i.e. HOMES stands for the Great Lakes Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior) or making a list of important information. 7. Contact your child s teachers if you have specific questions about how you can better help your child at home to learn the material they are being taught in school. Contact your child s School Counselor or Social Worker to get more information about the after school program, SOAR, which can give your child time after school to work on some homework. With your child knowing you care and that school matters in addition to these suggestions, your child will have a great start in developing the right tools to succeed at Willmar Middle School. Page 6

7 From the Nurse... Concerned about teen texting? To prevent problems, monitor your teen's texting habits. Also set and enforce appropriate limits. By Mayo Clinic staff For many teens, text messaging has become an essential way to communicate. A lack of maturity can get your teen into trouble when texting, though. Help your teen understand and avoid the risks associated with texting. We all know the risks of texting and Driving! But here are some other reasons to monitor your teen s texting Keep texting from interfering with sleep Texting after turning out the lights or going to bed can interfere with a good night's sleep especially if the messages are stressful or emotional. This can lead to issues such as lost sleep, difficulty falling asleep, poor sleep quality and daytime sleepiness. Work with your teen to establish reasonable hours for texting such as no texting after 10 p.m. on school nights. To enforce the rule, you might keep your teen's phone out of his or her room at night. Be honest about sexting Sexting refers to sending a text message with sexually explicit content or a sexually explicit picture, including naked pictures or pictures of people kissing or engaging in other sexual acts. Even if sexting seems to be the norm among your teen's peer group, explain the emotional consequences of sexting to your teen. Sexting can be uncomfortable for the sender especially if he or she is pressured into it as well as the receiver. The possible long-term impact of sexting matters, too. A picture or message meant for one person can be forwarded to an entire contact list at any time and once it's in circulation, there's no way to control it. A photo or message could resurface years later under other circumstances, possibly causing great embarrassment or even problems with work or school. Although laws and degree of enforcement might vary from state to state, make sure your teen understands that the possession of sexually explicit images of a minor is considered a crime. The consequences could be serious, including a police record, suspension from school or legal action. Bottom line: If you wouldn't be comfortable sharing the photo or message with the entire world, don't send it. Be aware of cyberbullying Cyberbullying refers to sending harassing texts, s or instant messages, as well as posting intimidating or threatening content on websites or blogs. Naturally, cyberbullying can make a teen feel unsafe and might lead to school absences or other problems. It might even be a contributing factor to teen suicide. Page 7

8 Encourage your teen to talk to you or another trusted adult if he or she receives harassing text messages. You might also suggest rejecting texts from unknown numbers. On the flip side, make sure your teen understands that it isn't acceptable to spread rumors or bully someone through texting. Remind your teen that any text message he or she sends can be forwarded to anyone else, so it's important to use good judgment with every message. Actively monitor your teen's messages Sit down with your teen and look through his or her text messages occasionally or let your teen know that you'll periodically check the phone for content. You might also review phone records to see when and how often your teen is sending and receiving texts. As your teen gets older and engages with a wider variety of people some of whom might be interested in inappropriate messages or contact it becomes even more important to monitor his or her messages. Enforce consequences If your teen isn't willing to follow the rules and expectations you've set or you're concerned that texting is interfering with your teen's schoolwork or other responsibilities take action. The options? Remove your teen's ability to text or send pictures through his or her phone or simply take the phone away. Remind your teen that having a phone is a privilege, not a right. Preventing potentially serious consequences outweighs any anger your teen is likely to express. October 28th 6:00pm-8:30pm Page 8

9 Willmar Public Schools, ISD # SCHOOL CALENDAR November 4... End of Term 1 November 9... Professional Development (2 hr Late Start for students) November ALC Conferences, 1:00-7:00 pm November Thanksgiving Break, No School for Staff or Students December 7... Professional Development (2 hr Late Start for students) December Conference Comp Day, No School for Staff or Students Dec Jan Winter Break, No School for Staff or Students January 3, School Resumes January End of Term 2 January PreK-12 Teacher In-Service, No School for Students January ALC Conferences, 1:00-7:00 pm February 8... Professional Development (2 hr Late Start for students) February Parent/Teacher Conferences Grades K-12, No School for students K-12 February President s Holiday, No School for Staff or Students March End of Term 3 March Spring Break, No School for Staff or Students April 3... School Resumes April ALC Conferences, 1:00-7:00 pm April Good Friday, No School for Staff or Students May 5... Professional Development (2 hr Early Dismissal for students) May ALC Graduation, 1:00 pm May Memorial Day Holiday, No School for Staff or Students June 1... Last Day for Seniors June 2... End of Term 4 (Last Day for K-11 students) June 4... Commencement June 5... PreK-12 Teacher Workday June 6... Teacher Conference Comp Day NOTE: Inclement weather days will be made up on January 23, February 20 and in June (if additional days are needed). Any inclement weather day will be made up on the next closest date as listed above. Approved by School Board on March 14, 2016 Revised June 13, 2016 Page 9

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