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Friday, August 5, 2016

Message from the Principal

I am excited for our new school year to begin.  It will be wonderful to have students back on campus.  A special welcome to our new sixth grade families from Manzanita, Sunrise Drive and other elementary schools!  The staff at Orange Grove Middle School extends a warm welcome to all new and returning families. Please contact us if we can do anything to support a smooth transition into the school year for your child.

At Orange Grove Middle School, we receive students who have been prepared at the elementary level, and in turn, we prepare them to transition smoothly to the high school level.  This preparedness begins on day one as we begin to help students gain a sense of belonging and we help our young adolescents develop ownership for their learning.  Taking ownership for one’s learning is David Conley and his research team’s work.  Teachers and staff will model and express the importance of what it is to be persistent, self-aware, seek help and have self-efficacy.  The other key learning skills under Conley’s model of student ownership: motivation, progress monitoring, and goal setting are developed throughout the year and are showcased in our Student Led Conferences (SLC) in the spring where your child talks about his/her strengths and areas for improvement and goals.  We look forward to sharing more about the SLC process in the spring. 

The start of a school year is a special time, filled with anticipation and hope of what the new year will bring. Sixth graders and their parents will have an opportunity to have many of their questions answered at orientation on Wednesday, August 11th at 10:30 a.m.  for students and 10:45 for parents. For all our families, we ask that you please plan to attend our back-to-school parent night on Sept. 1st.  Back-to-school night will provide an opportunity for you to meet your student’s teachers and to learn about each subject area for the year ahead.  We also look forward to continuing our partnership with you at our FFO parent coffees that occur prior to FFO meetings. The FFO parent coffees give you an opportunity to meet with other parents at your child’s grade and learn what to expect from your 6th, 7th, or 8th grader. You will receive invitations to these coffees in the mail.

I want to take some time to point out important and helpful hints that will further support your student having a successful year and you having some strategies to maneuver the school year as you show your adolescent you are ‘smarter than a middle schooler.’  When your child says, ‘I have no homework,’ ask your child to take you to the OGMS website and go under the tab Teacher Websites in the Express Lane.  As he/she takes you to his/her teachers’ various sites, this allows you as the parent to begin a dialogue about what’s going on in your child’s classes and your child to take ownership for his/her learning.  If your child uncovers he/she does have homework, you can talk about responsibility and reminding your child that the website is the first place to look to seek help to keep on track regarding what’s happening in the classroom if he/she can’t remember.

If you know your child is struggling with homework or is having trouble getting assignments done, you can talk about helpful structures Orange Grove provides to all students.   For a middle schooler, being self-aware he/she has options for seeking help is huge.  Ask your child if he/she has gone to:
A.  The Panther Den, room 301, at lunch.  The Den is a place any student can go to get help from his/her peers and/or an adult who helps monitor the activity in the room as well as supports the students.
B.  Academic Assistance is offered to your child on late start Wednesdays.   All teachers are in their classrooms and available to support students on assignments, concepts, and just general questions that your student may have about the unit of study.  If your child rides the bus, students arrive on time to participate in academic assistance from 8:55 till 9:25. 
C.  Finally, if your child shares these structures are not working for him/her and you know there are missing assignments on the ParentVUE, then you can suggest your child visit his/her counselor. We hope that our Zeros Aren’t Permitted Program (ZAP) is a last resort, but if your child is not exercising his/her progress-monitoring skills and using his/her resources for seeking help, you may get a note, a phone call or an email nudging your child to take student ownership by attending our ZAP program at 7:30 a.m. on a Late Start Wednesday.  This program is designed to support students get caught up because of absences, or just may lack the motivation needed to turn work in. 

So, as we welcome you to the new school year and share some of the resources available to keep you one step ahead of your middle schooler, know we are here for you working on helping your child feel a sense of belonging and working on one of Conley’s main Keys to help your child have success here at OGMS and his/her years beyond by taking Ownership for their Learning. 

Finally, I invite each of you to participate in our FFO.  Our first meeting of the school year is scheduled for Friday, August 26, at 8:30 A.M.   

A very special thank you to our FFO for providing so many wonderful things for our classrooms and helping to fund the majority of our marquee-look for important messaging when driving by it should be installed sometime during the first week of school.

Please know counselors and administration are here to help you, and we are thrilled to be partnering with you in the year ahead. 

                   Have a great weekend and welcome shortly to a new school year!

Susan Rosenthal
Principal