Dealing with the Tragedy in Colorado
I realize that Aurora, Colorado is over a 1000 miles away, but tragedies of this magnitude can have an affect on our kids. Most of our students have attended movies over the course of the summer, and we know that our adolescents can be very vulnerable in times of tragedy. The folks at Common Sense Media have some wonderful suggestions for dealing with the questions that children may have.
We will keep the families of all those affected by this tragedy in our thoughts and prayers.
Those Dreaded Words that Kids (and Teachers) Hate to Hear
First, I need to disclose that I am not receiving any remuneration from a particular office supply company that authored this ad. I think that it really speaks to the “spirit of the season”.
OK, now that I have set the stage, let’s talk about the beginning of school.
As we have in the past couple of years (except, of course, last year), our 6th grade students will begin school on Wednesday, August 29. They will have the whole school to themselves as the 7th and 8th graders will begin on Thursday August 30th. All of the students will enjoy a four-day weekend for the Labor Day holiday, having no school on Friday of Monday.
The Middle School Open House will be Tuesday night, September 4th from 6:00 pm until 7:00 pm. This will be a great opportunity for families to meet your child’s new teachers and get a look at the rooms and learn about what will be happening in the coming year.
It will also be a great time for parents to get brought up to date on changes in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal, Homework Hotline, Library and Homework Club and any other changes.
Back to School Shopping
The department stores put this “shopping season” right next to the Christmas shopping season, and with good reason. I want to take this time to ask you to be aware of the school dress code when you are shopping. Each year, we hold an assembly for the students and try to demonstrate what appropriate and inappropriate clothing are. Our Student Handbook has a very practical explanation of the dress code:
“Students are to dress in a manner that will not distract, disrupt or be hazardous to their safety and well-being. Parents should be involved in setting standards of dress and grooming for their children. However, if the student, by dress or grooming is interfering with the educational process or is not dressed conducive to the activity, appropriate action, involving the parents will be taken.”
There is a list “banned” items in the handbook, if you would like more specific information. Our Student Handbook is on the Middle School web page at http://gorhmaschools.org.
So, as you head out for Back-to-School clothes shopping, please keep this handbook item in mind.
You also should have received a list of supplies that your child will need for school this year from the team on step up day. If you have misplaced this list (or, more likely, your child never gave it to you), please send me an email and I will get a new list out to you. In any event, please do not go overboard on school supply spending. We have lots of stuff that we can give to your child, if you need it.
MLTI Laptop Nights
I know that having to attend this meeting is a real inconvenience for most parents, especially those of you have had to attend multiple meetings over the years. Unfortunately, this is a requirement of the lease arrangement we have with the state. It requires us to hold these events and it requires parents to attend in order for the students to be able to take the laptops home.
We provide two nights in order to allow for all parents to attend, however you only need to attend on one of these nights. This year we will hold these nights on Monday and Tuesday, September 10 & 11 at 6:30.
While the intended purpose of this night is to inform you about the upgrades on this year’s image, we will also have some very important information to help parents deal with the many issues that arise from the student of the devices. Issues that include cyber bullying, on-line safety, appropriate use of technology and the amount of time our children spend “connected” are some of the topics will attempt to cover on this evening.
I hope that you can all join us for the informative night.
On the first days of school your child will bring home several (OK, lots) of forms that you will need to complete and have your child return to his/her adviser. These form are very important for us to have, they include a form that allows us to publish your child’s picture, health information updates, personal information updates like current contact information as well as a universal field trip permission form. We thank you in advance for getting this info back to us in a timely fashion.
Speaking of Technology and Social Media
I am sure that many of our students are struggling with the withdrawal effects of being without their school laptops over the summer. I am also sure that many of them have found ways to continue to stay digitally connected through cell phones, ipods and in other ways. Our good friends at Common Sense Media have just published a media research study that asked the following questions of a sample of 13 to 17 year olds:
- How often are teens texting and using Facebook and Twitter?
- What are teenagers’ favorite ways to communicate with their friends and family?
- How do teens think these new communications tools are affecting their friendships and family relations, if at all?
- How does social networking make most teens feel about themselves and their relationships with their peers? Does it make them feel more connected or more isolated? Better about themselves, or more depressed and lonely?
- How do the heaviest social media users compare to other teens in terms of their social and emotional well-being?
To see the findings of this study, check out Common Sense Media.