September 2015 Newsletter
Dear Parents and Students
On behalf of our school staff we would like to welcome you back from the summer break. We hope you had a restful vacation and are now ready and energized to seize the outstanding opportunities of the 2015-2016 school year. We look forward to meeting with you on September 21st from 5:00 to 8:00 PM for our Back to School Night. During that evening we will discuss our school goals for the year, the meaningful Common Core curriculum your child will be engaged in, and the assessments we will use to measure your child’s progress as they move toward college and career readiness. In addition, we will discuss the social and academic services we have in place to support all of the members of our learning community both in and out of school. It promises to be a very informative evening.
Our goals for the school year 2015-2016:
1) Continue to develop collaborative opportunities between parents, students, and faculty thereby improving communication and trust among all constituents, leading to strong student achievement.
2) To continue to develop a collaborative culture of reflection between parent, student, and faculty focusing on the academic and social progress of each student.
3) To consistently collect and analyze student data that will be used by teachers to set and revise learning targets for all students in all subject areas throughout the year.
4) Utilize the NYCDOE eight identified components of the observation rubric titled Danielson’s Framework for Effective Teaching to consistently improve instructional practice among our teaching staff.
5) Utilize responses from the 2014-2015 Learning Survey to strengthen family-community ties.
6) To engage our students in rigorous, meaningful curriculum that is based on the Common Core Learning Standards in all subject areas through the use of our revised curriculum maps, and differentiated instructional design.
7) To provide professional supports for all teachers so that they will successfully design coherent instruction for all students that include lesson objectives aligned to Common Core State Standards, frequent checks for student understanding, differentiated supports for individual learners and assessments that will be used to drive future instruction.
8) Further develop the artistic, social and cognitive talents of our students by collaborating with community organizations such as the Center for Arts Education, the Queens Community House, the Briarwood Community Association, the Museum of Natural History, the NYC Hall of Science, Queens Museum of Art, City Lore, Teaching Matters, Urban Advantage, Young Debaters, CHAMPS , Codesters, and the NYCDOE iLearn initiative.
9) Provide all students individual access to computer devices and Google apps in all subject areas thereby meeting our vision of the iLearn program and more importantly developing the 21st Century skills required for success in our ever challenging global economy.
10) Provide all students a trusting learning environment where they are free from discrimination, and permitted the opportunity to find their individual voice.
Reflections on the school year 2014-2015
We are very proud of our student achievements during the school year 2014-2015. The number of students meeting proficiency on the NYS ELA exam is up 4.9% from the previous year with significant improvement in our English Language Learner and Student with Disabilities populations. In addition, our grade 6 to 8 students outperformed NYC ELA middle school scores by 2.9%. In mathematics our grade 6 and 7 students outperformed NYC at both grade levels. In addition, 203 of our grade 8 students attained a passing score on the NYS Common Core Algebra Regents, and 218 grade 8 students attained a passing score on the NYS Living Environment Regents resulting in early High School credits for both mathematics and science. Student achievement in the Arts was also a priority during the school year 2014-2015. We implemented successful partnerships with the Center for Art Education, and the Queens Museum. Parents and students attended celebrations of their student work at both locations in June of last year. In collaboration with our PTA our students, parents, and staff participated in celebrating students’ academic and social growth during honor roll breakfasts, Subject Family Nights, Concerts of the Arts, and students’ socials. Student teams were victorious in the city-wide Young Debaters program, as well as Beat the Streets wrestling events, cheer leading competitions, CHAMPS sports programs, and the NYCDOE School Wellness Poster competition to name a few. Students presented at the Urban Advantage Science Expo, and attended trips to Washington D.C., Boston, Yale University, City College, and Hofstra University. Finally, our student acceptance rate to the top performing High Schools in NY also increased. Bravo to our parents, students, and staff for working together day and night to attain these great accomplishments.
Looking to the school year 2015-2016
Yet with all of our progress we will continue to push to achieve greater heights. Over the summer we reflected on and revised our action plans so that they are aligned to the NYCDOE Framework for Great Schools. (http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/schools/framework/default.htm) The framework provides us a greater focus in developing rigorous instruction, effective school leadership, a collaborative supportive environment, and strong family-community ties all founded on trust in the name of greater student achievement. We will consistently revisit our goals and action plans against the framework throughout the school year, and will engage our students, parents, and staff in frequent opportunities for discussion and planning. We will focus on addressing concerns outlined in our 2014-2015 Learning Survey and PTA meetings, as well as the academic targets identified through the analysis of student work and assessment data. We will address your request to provide additional learning opportunities for parents via workshops, classroom visits, and educational off-site experiences which will strengthen community-family ties, and result in greater student achievement. Teachers will continue the posting of all homework assignments, assessment results, classwork, and upcoming event information on PupilPath (https://pupilpath.skedula.com/). Parents will continue to utilize their individual PupilPath accounts to review their child’s academic and social progress in real time on a daily basis. In addition, parents may email their child’s teachers directly through PupilPath thereby strengthening communication. Throughout the year we will send home formal invites scheduling parents for small group conferences between the student, parent, and student’s teacher team on Tuesdays from 2:30 to 3:20 PM. We will backpack and/or mail home with your child a school monthly newsletter during the first week of every month.
In our effort to focus on the progress of our students we will utilize a grading policy based on the satisfactory completion of homework assignments, class participation termed Questioning and Discussion, evidence of satisfactory class work, and student performance on subject exams. School-wide assessments will be administered every 6-8 weeks to determine the progress of our school, as well as the progress of individual students as they strive for mastery in the common core standards. Teachers will design lessons that will scaffold content and skill development as well as differentiate for the individual learning needs of our students. Teachers will consistently check for student understanding during the daily student lessons, utilizing edtech apps frequently. Various digital devices such as smart boards, ELMOs, laptops, iPads, clickers, and the internet will be leveraged to engage your child. Additional academic services will be provided for those students not meeting the targets set by their teachers. Behavior supports will be utilized to provide students the opportunity to grow and flourish. We will implement an advisory program on the 6th grade, and utilize restorative practices in all grades providing students a trusting collaborative environment. With the support of parents and staff working together our students will develop self-confidence and learn to advocate for themselves as future leaders of our world.
Our teachers have reviewed multiple sources of data on each of our students and they are setting individual learning goals for all. Parents now have access to their child’s attendance and academic data through the MyStudent Parent link https://mystudent.nyc/ as well as through PupilPath (https://pupilpath.skedula.com/). Parents new to our school will receive individual PupilPath accounts to view their child’s subject progress, daily attendance, and behavior performance through PupilPath in the coming days. For assistance with MyStudent or with PupilPath login please contact our Parent Coordinator Ms. Vazquez at 718-657-1120 or email@example.com. As our year moves forward our teachers will work with you, your child, and your child’s support team (teachers, guidance counselor, dean, and assistant principal) to reflect on your child’s progress and make the necessary adjustments. To fully support while at the same time provide every opportunity for all of our students, we will continue to review and when necessary revise with parents the Individualized Educational Plans for our students with special needs. Please be certain we are committed to the needs of every child. Students in special education classes will follow the same curriculum as students in general education classes with additional supports and resources built in to the lesson to strengthen their understanding of concepts and to help them better apply the skills they have learned.
We are dedicated to the development of the whole child. We believe that together parents, students, and staff will continue to create a truly memorable middle school experience for our students. We are determined to meet the goals we have set for both our school and each individual student. We will work together as a community, and we will be successful!
September Topics in ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies:
Beginning in September the ELA department will continue the implementation of our Common Core aligned reading/writing program, Expeditionary Learning. We have been utilizing this program for two years and found we have had much success and engagement among our students. The novels and discussion topics, along with the writing give students an opportunity to engage with exciting texts and have their voices heard through discussion and writing. Teachers and administrators will continue to receive training and support to be able to meet your child’s needs. In September we will launch Module 1 of four Modules. Grades 6-8 will focus on close reading and writing to learn, with specific topics of Myths in Grade 6, Journeys and Survival in Grade 7, and Finding Home: Refugees for Grade 8. In addition, all students will complete benchmark performance assessments in reading and writing during the month of September. Our instructional staff will use the results from these assessments to design lessons and tasks to meet the needs of our students. In addition, students will utilize the Achieve 3000 Teen Biz program to set their individual reading levels using the Lexile system. Lexile Levels will be assessed at least 3 times during the school year to look for growth. Teen Biz will be accessible both in school and from home computers connected to the internet. Letters outlining the program will be sent home during the week of September 21.
The target Lexile Ranges are as follows:
665L to 1000L
735L to 1065L
805L to 1100L
Students are expected to read a book on their independent Lexile level every night for at least 30 minutes, in addition to their other daily homework. Students will be expected to write in their reading response notebook each night to evidence this reading.
We look forward to working with you and your children during this upcoming year.
This year we have updated our new common core mathematics curriculum, Go Math. In the first unit, our 6th grade students will learn about: integers and their opposites, absolute value, rational numbers and their opposites, comparing and ordering rational numbers, greatest common factors and least common multiples. In 7th grade, students will be introduced to integers and rational numbers. Seventh grade mathematics goals will be to: develop an understanding of rational numbers by including negative rational numbers and to develop an understanding of operations with rational numbers and their properties. Additionally, our 7th grade students will begin preparations for administration of the NYS Regents Algebra I assessment for the following year. Our 8th graders will begin the year studying Foundations of Algebra including solving equations and inequalities. Additionally, many of our 8th grade classes will be preparing to earn high school credit by participating in the NYS Regents Algebra I course. Last year over 500 students were given that opportunity! After school programs will provide students additional time to understand the information during class time. You’ll receive further information as the year progresses.
In 6th grade science, students will start the year studying the nature of science. Objectives for our 6th grade students are to: identify the skills scientists use, define hypothesis and recognize the difference between observation and inference. 7th graders will focus on Living Environment and begin preparations for the NYS Regents Living Environment Assessment, to be taken in 8th grade. Students will begin with examining the steps used to solve a problem in a scientific way:
● Explain how a well-designed investigation is developed
● Identify how to write a TESTABLE QUESTION and Independent/Dependent Variable relationships
● Identify the parts of an experiment based on written scenarios of labs
Students will be able to: Identify the branches of science, list the steps of the scientific method, list the importance and use of the scientific method and be able to identify the components of an experiment. Our 8th graders will employ their prior knowledge of science to gain a deeper understanding of the scientific method and its applications. Their objectives for the first unit are to: explain how a well-designed investigation is developed and identify how science is a part of their everyday life. The science department continues to incorporate the use of EScience3000. This is a computer based program that matches your child’s reading level with appropriate material so your child can gain a deeper understanding of the material. Additionally, we continue to be an Urban Advantage school, which seeks to develop a love of science through family interactions and visits to museums such as the American Museum of Natural History! Look for vouchers for FREE entrance to the American Museum of Natural History, NY Hall of Science, the Bronx Zoo and the Queens Botanical Garden! They’ll be sent home from your science teacher. Additional classes will be afforded the opportunity to earn high school credits in science by taking the Living Environment Regents. Last year over 350 students were given that opportunity!
Welcome back parents to an exciting school year. The universal essential question for students while in their Social Studies classes for this year is “How can I read, write and think like a historian?” Teachers have worked over the summer making revisions to the Social Studies curriculum in grades 6-8 to create challenging coursework and engaging units of study that will provide multiple opportunities to read, write and think like a historian all while exploring content matter. This year, all lessons, units of study and exams are aligned to the common core standards. In addition, your child will complete a Social Studies NYC performance task that is centered on a historical document. This document can be a speech, article, or picture in which they will be required to analyze and make meaning of the document. This assessment will be administered in September and again in the spring. The results of these assessments will give us an indication of the progress your child has made over the course of the year in Social Studies. Every month we will send you grade specific information about what your children are engaged in learning so that you can be an active part of the learning process. We look forward to getting to know your children and meeting with you as the year progresses. Please be sure to log in to your Pupil Path accounts to see the most up-to-date information on how your child is progressing in Social Studies classes.
All students will complete benchmark assessments in Social Studies during the month of September. Our instructional staff will use the results from these assessments to design instruction to meet the needs of our students.
Grade 6 – Essential Question: How did geography influence the development of the Eastern Hemisphere?
● Interpreting different maps - Comparing and analyzing maps
● Key geographic features and natural resources - Identifying geographical features
Grade 7 – Essential Question: How did geography affect the earliest Americans?
● Note-taking skills - Creating outlines, Analyzing Documents, Critical Thinking
● The Earliest Americans
● The Americas prior to early explorers and colonial settlement
● Indigenous cultures of the Americas
Grade 8 – Essential Question: What basic skills do historians need when analyzing history?
● Interactive note taking skills - Analyzing documents
● Civil War Review
● Developing logical arguments
REQUIRED SCHOOL SUPPLIES:
1) School Uniform – polo shirt (navy blue or grey), khaki/navy blue pants or skort
2) Five subject loose-leaf binder
3) 2 USB THUMB DRIVES (Laptops will be provided by our school. Distribution begins Sept 20th. Distribution may take up to two weeks. Students ARE NOT permitted to take their laptop home.)
4) five pens, five pencils
5) Ruler and protractor (Calculators will be supplied by our school)
Parents please remember students must be dressed for success in our school uniform on a daily basis.
*For more information, please call the main office or visit our school web site at http://28q217.nycdoe.org/home
We are looking forward to a successful year working with students and parents. Please arrange to visit by calling your child’s guidance counselor or dean for an appointment:
ART & TECH
LAW & GOVT
Math & Science
Grading Policy 2015-2016
Homework = 10% : (Examples- Daily homework assignments, projects, Achieve 3000, eScience, PowerSpeak, Rosetta Stone and reading logs)
Classwork = 25% : (Examples - Notebook work, graphic organizers completed in class, worksheets, Achieve 3000, eScience, PowerSpeak, Rosetta Stone, entrance tickets, exit tickets, daily assignments in class, and Marking Period pre assessments)
Question & Discussion = 25% : (Examples - Question and Discussion rubric titled SPEAK, teacher observations of student questioning and discussion participation.
Assessment = 40% : (Examples - POWs, Marking Period post assessments, teacher created exams/quizzes, monthly tasks, lab reports, etc)
Thank you for your continued support and cooperation!!!
Patrick M. Burns
Middle School 217Q School Based Policy for Use of Cell Phones and Computing Devices on School Property
A. The use of cell phones and computing devices at school is subject to the conditions below:
1. Cell phones may not be turned on or used during the administration of any school quiz, test or examination.
2. Computing devices may not be turned on or used during the administration of any school quiz, test or examination, except where such use has been explicitly authorized by the school or is contained in an Individual Education Program or Section 504 Accommodation Plan.
3. Cell phones and computing devices may not be turned on or used during school fire drills or other emergency preparedness exercises.
4. Cell phones and computing devices may not be used in locker room, bathrooms, gymnasium or our dance classroom.
5. Students who use cell phones or computing devices in violation of any provision of the DOE’s Discipline Code, the school’s policy, Chancellor’s regulation A-413, and/or the DOE’s Internet Acceptable Use and Safety Policy (“IAUSP”) will be subject to discipline in accordance with the guidance interventions and disciplinary responses set forth in the Discipline Code.
B. Cell phones may be used as set forth below:
· Cell phones may not be turned on or used while on school property without authorization from a school official. Cell phones must be kept in school bags and turned off.
· Cell phones may not be used in areas where swimming pools are located.
· Cell phones may not be turned on or used during instructional time, except for instructional and educational purposes with the explicit approval of the teacher.
During after-school, school sponsored programs or activities:
The cell phone policy for after school programs, Saturday school programs, trips, or school events is the same as that which is followed during the regular school day.
C. Computing devices may be used as set forth below
· Computing devices may not be used in areas where swimming pools are located.
· Computing devices may not be turned on or used during instruction time, except for instruction and educational purposes with the explicit approval of the teacher.
· Computing devices may be turned on and used only during instructional time for instructional and educational purposes with the approval of school authority.
During after-school, school-sponsored programs or activities:
The computer device policy for after school programs, Saturday school programs, trips, or school events is the same as that which is followed during the regular school day.
D. Confiscation and return of electronic items
Describe the circumstances under which electronic items may be confiscated and returned. In determining whether to confiscate an electronic device, schools should consider the nature of the violation. Where appropriate, measures should be instituted in a progressive fashion. Such measures may include, but are not limited to:
The following is the progressive ladder of discipline that will be utilized when confiscating and returning an electronic device:
Step 1: Student will receive a verbal warning that the device is not permitted to be used in school, followed by the instruction to turn the device off and put it away.
Step 2: If the student fails to follow the direction of the school official and/or is found to have been given a verbal warning in the past for violating school policy on electronic devices the electronic device will be confiscated. The item will be returned to the student at the end of the school day.
Step 3: If the student has violated the school policy in the past resulting in his/her device being confiscated and returned to the student then the next time the student violates the school policy the device will be confiscated and will be held until a parent arranges a date and time with the school official to discuss the nature of the repeated violation as well as to pick up the device. An outcome of the parent meeting will be the creation and signature (student, parent, and school official signatures required) detailing a behavioral contract whereby the student and parent agree the student will not violate school policy on the use of digital devices while on school grounds. The contract will specify if the student violates the policy the privilege to possess the item on school grounds will be revoked.
Step 4: Revocation of privilege to bring item to school.