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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

CFHS Swim Team Meeting

The high school swim & dive team is having a pre-season meeting on Tuesday, May 2nd from 6:00-7:00p.m.   Anyone interested in joining the team or learning more about the high school swim and dive team is welcome to attend.

CFHS Swim & Dive Pre-Season Meeting
WHEN: Tuesday, May 2, 201&
TIME:       6:00pm - 7:00 pm
WHERE: CFHS, House 2, Seminar Room

Contact with questions:  Laurie Princiotto, CFHS Swim & Dive Boosters,

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Principal's Message

Dear Families,

We hope everyone has a wonderful Spring Break.  We now have a few weeks of the new quarter behind us, and we would like to remind everyone that attendance is key in helping your child succeed, finishing his/her last quarter strong.  We ask you to partner with us to get your child to school on time, make sure your child isn’t pulled out for appointments, and help remind your child to check his/her StudentVUE for missing work as well as checking his/her teachers’ websites to know exactly what is going on if a day of school is missed.  

We also want to take the time to thank you for attending your child’s student led conference a few weeks ago.  We recognize you are busy, and your feedback and rating of your child’s skills acquired through the conference process were note and exciting to read.  According to Richard Stiggins (1999) the student led conference process…

‘Is the biggest breakthrough in communicating about student achievement
in the last century.  When students are well prepared, over an extended period, to tell the story of their own success (or lack thereof), they seem to experience a fundamental shift in their internal sense of responsibility for that success.  The pride in accomplishment that students feel when they have a positive story to tell and tell it well can be immensely motivational.  The sense of personal responsibility that they feel when anticipating what it will be like to face the music of having to tell their story of poor achievement can also drive them to productive work. ‘(1996) 

While this quote is old current bloggers, articles about the SLC process and educators note the power of students taking ownership for their learning to deepen their understanding of who they are as learners.  We know you saw what we saw, students walking taller, feeling more confident, and acquiring skills that support our student, your child understanding one’s self as a learner and having a better understanding of one’s own strengths and weaknesses.  

We look forward to our continued journey and helping our students develop the knowledge and skills that we know will transfer to high school, college, and eventually their careers and civic life.  Helping our students apply deep learning proficiencies to become literate 21st Century citizens is evident in the SLC process as your child learns the power of self-evaluation, goal setting, positive communication skills, and thinking more critically about his/her work. Thank you for being part of this partnership and supporting your child to be engaged in relevant and meaningful work that helped your child to have voice and choice in their portfolio pieces.

Finally, as we finish our last quarter, I am looking forward to the many end of year activities we have ahead: Celebrating our volunteers at our next FFO parent breakfast, attending our last dine-out at MOD Pizza, hearing our students perform in their Spring Concerts, finalizing the 8th grade legacy project, and commemorating our 8th graders at promotion.  April and May will be busy, as we begin our final countdown to summer.  As we head to summer, our school begins a renovation project.  Get set to hear more information about classroom renovations in May.

Finally, we will be sending a survey out in May to check in on how we are meeting your needs and what we can do to further support the work at OGMS.  A very special thank you to our FFO and executive FFO for their continued support in our programming, our events and our staff appreciation treats!  We couldn’t do the many things we do without their support. Happy April.

Have a wonderful Spring Break!

Susan Rosenthal

AzMERIT Testing April 13-21

AzMERIT Standardized Testing:    

On Thursday, April 13th our standardized testing period begins. Please see our counselor’s article for ways to support your child during testing called Stress and Test Anxiety to support your child having greater success during the week ahead.

This year, testing takes place over several days starting April 13th.  We thank our FFO for our guest speaker Jordan Wiley-Hill who will support our students with some great mindful activities.  See the article on Mindfulness in this blog.

Your child will have his/her test administered on a computer and when not testing, he/she will be in a rotation with Mr. Wiley-Hill.

A reminder that headphones are provided, but some students may prefer to bring their own for testing.  Headphones/earbuds are needed for the AzMERIT Reading, parts 1 and 2.  We ask that you help your child always to be on time, but especially during testing. Once a testing session has begun your student will not be allowed to enter the class until the testing session is complete.  Make-up testing will begin at a later date.

We encourage your child to come with a snack, a water bottle, a book to read and again headphones/earbuds if your child does not want to borrow the school’s equipment. During testing, we will not call into classes so please make sure if you need to take your child out for an appointment, you take him/her after each day’s testing session.  Testing ends each day at 10:45. The full schedule can be seen following this article.

A special note: Our 8th graders will take the AIMS Science assessment (paper and pencil) on April 17th.

Mark Your Calendar

Mark your Calendar

April 12                     8th grade Promotion Speeches due to                                          ELA  teachers
April 13, 17, 18, 20, 21       AzMERIT Testing 7:30 - 10:45 a.m.
April 19                     Track Meet at OGMS
April 20                     Dine Out at MOD Pizza
April 26                     Track Meet at OGMS
April 28                      FFO Meeting
April 28                     Student Action Committee Sack Lunch                                        making event 2:30 p.m.
April 29                     Saturday School

4th Quarter Supplies

Time To Check Backpacks!

As the school year is winding down, it might be the perfect time to check the status of your child's school supplies.  Students are coming with no paper, no pencils and organizers/folders that aren't in great shape.  Think about some spring cleaning over Spring Break and add some new tools to your child's backpack to help him/her finish the year strong.

Students love new folders, new pencils and of course binder paper.  All these school supplies help make participating in school tasks so much easier.  Take some time and do a backpack check with your student, you might be surprised at what's inside.

Speaking of school supplies, the FFO is once again doing their school kits drive for next year, they have partnered with EduKit to package student’s supplies based on the teacher supply lists and deliver these to the school in time for Pick Up and Unpack in August.  You can simply order online by going to the following link:  Note that you should purchase a kit based on your student's grade next year. There is also a donation option to help students in need and our wonderful teachers. All money donated will be used to support kids and the supplies needed school wide.

Keeping You in the Loop

Keeping you in the loop at Orange Grove

Spring Book Fair
Was a big success!  Thank you to all who shopped! Thank you, Lisa Yurkanin, for organizing this event. We are looking for a new chairperson for next year’s book fair- please let us know if you would like more information.

Dine Out @ MOD Pizza
Mark your calendar for our last dine-out of the year. Thursday April 20th, all day, MOD pizza on Wetmore/Oracle. Must show a printed or electronic flyer.

Thank you to all of those who participated in our Chipotle dine-out- we will be receiving a check for $440 to support our school! Amazing!

SAC- Sack Lunch Making Event
Each year the Student Action Committee holds a sack lunch making event at Orange Grove.  All students and parents are invited to participate on Friday, April 28th from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. in the Commons or contribute supplies needed.  We will be making sandwiches and packing sack lunches for the people at Casa Maria Free Kitchen.  This is a fun event that provides hands-on community service experience for our students, all the while helping to feed the homeless and hungry that live among us.  Here’s a link to supplies and volunteers needed Thank you, Amy Bhola for organizing this wonderful event!

8th Grade Promotion
Would you like to help send our 8th graders off in style? We are looking for a cookie reception chair, you must not be an 8th grade parent, it's a very simple job and everything is already planned for you. Let me know if you are interested in helping. 

8th grade families- we still need a $10 donation from many of our 8th graders. These donations will cover the ceremony, cookie reception, 8th grade dance, and lunch on the last day of school. You can make your donation from your intouch account or in the front office. (user ID- Student ID, Password- Students last name first letter capitalized).

Volunteer Opportunities
-We can always use help during lunch!  If you can lend a hand during one or both lunch periods on any given day, or on a regular basis, please go to the following website to sign up:
-If you’ve ever considered being a committee chairperson and want to know what’s involved, please send me an email at  I’d love to hear from you! We have several committees that need help next year.
-Can’t give your time but would still like to help? We are always in need of supplies at school. Current top needs are Kleenex!, colored paper, and nut free snacks for the nurse’s office.
-8th grade promotion needs many helping hands. Please email me if you’d like to be added to the volunteer list.

Looking ahead to next year
At the last FFO meeting we elected the following people to serve on the executive FFO board during the 2017-2018 school year:

President – Gina Mehmert
Past President- Galena Robinson
Secretary – Jessica Brandt
Treasurer – Becky Swift
Direct Donations Chair – Blythe Edmondson
Grants Chair – Anne Gruber

If you are interested in getting more involved in the FFO and would like more information about what is available, please contact Gina Mehmert at or Galena Robinson at

Order school supplies for next year now!
Dread the back to school shopping trips?  Feel rushed after your vacation to get your student’s school supplies in order?  This year we hope to make that easier and cheaper for you!  We have partnered with EduKit to package your student’s supplies based on the teacher supply lists and deliver these to the school in time for our Pick Up and Unpack event in August.  You can simply order online by going to the following link:  Note that you should purchase a kit based on your student's grade next year. There is also a donation option to help students in need and our wonderful teachers. All money donated will be used to support kids and the supplies needed school wide.

Upcoming events
- Spring Break April 3rd-7th
-AzMERIT Testing April 13th, 17th, 18th, 20th, and 21st – please send an extra snack with your student
-MOD Pizza Dine-Out April 20th (need flyer)
-Last FFO Meeting – Friday April 28th at 8:30 a.m. in the library.
-SAC- sandwich making Friday April 28th after school in the commons.
-8th grade promotion 6:30 p.m. Tues May 23rd 

Thank you for all that you do for our school!  

Galena Robinson, FFO President  

Dine Out at MOD Pizza 4/20/17

8th Grade Promotion

8th Grade Families,

Promotion will be here before you know it!  Some things you need to know are:

  • The promotion ceremony will be on Tuesday, May 23rd at 6:30 p.m. in the MPR
  • In early May each family will be sent tickets for seating in the MPR.  Overflow seating will be provided in the library where the ceremony will be live broadcast.
  • After the ceremony, there will be a cookie reception in the Commons Courtyard from 7:30 - 8:00 p.m.
  • An 8th grade student-only dance will be held in the Commons from 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. 
  • Students must be picked up from the OGMS bus lot at 10:00 p.m.
We look forward having you on campus for this evening of celebration.

Mindfulness Student Opportunity During AzMERIT Testing

Mindfulness-Jordan Wiley-Hill

Testing time:  can be stressful, and it demands a great deal of focus.  Luckily, mindfulness can provide support in both of those areas!  Indeed, research has shown that mindfulness training improves students’:

·       focus in the classroom and on tests
·       stress management and test anxiety
·       emotion regulation
·       academic performance

Yet something else is still greatly needed during testing time—the chance to let loose, have fun, move around, and interact with peers. 

During AzMERIT Testing Jordan Wiley-Hill will provide mindfulness workshops for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades to provide all of the above. Through highly interactive and hands-on activities, students will learn and practice mindfulness tools and techniques that they can use during testing—and beyond!

8th Graders Qualify for State Finals

Two 8th grade teams from OGMS (one two-person team and one four-person team)

were selected as finalists for the 2017 Personal Finance Case Study Competition in Mesa on April 7th based on their written submissions.  The Arizona Council for Economic Education sponsored the case study competition asking students to analyze a family's current financial situation and provide recommended strategies.  Six teams from the entire state made it to the finals.  OGMS had two of the six.  

We wish both teams the best of luck!

OGMS Bands Succeed at ABODA Festival


Congratulations and Well Done … our 7th grade band students received a Excellent at the ABODA Festival and the 8th grade band received an Superior.  Thank you Mr. Chilson and Dr. Puzzo for supporting our students and we thank the the volunteers who helped at this event!

Breakfast has Benefits and Is Available at OGMS


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Parking Lot Safety

Parking Lot Safety and Getting Back Into Routine To End The Year Strong

It is that time of year when we can all get complacent in parking lot safety, but when the rules aren’t followed, we put students at risk and put them in harms way without meaning to so we would like to remind everyone of our OGMS rules to finish the year safely and strong for students who are dropped off in our front lot.

As you know our parking lot is a busy place so if you drive your teen to school, use only the front parking lot for drop-off because the busses in the bus bay aren’t expecting students to be getting out of cars and the busses have the right of way.  

When in the front lot, please follow the below rules:
Parking Lot Etiquette:

         In the morning, the closer you arrive to 7:25, the more important it is to support safety and drive slowly. So remember please be patient because safety for our students is our first priority.

• As you enter the school, remain in the right-hand lane.
Follow the circle drive around and drop off along the sidewalk of the main office past the crosswalk.  Pull all the way up to the yellow line when directed to move forward.  Students must exit on the right and will enter through the SW gate near the MPR.
If you are parking, move to your left lane and follow the traffic around to either the               first entrance or the second. 
• Park your car in a space that is not designated handicapped and remind your child as  
          he/she exits your car to look carefully for cars as he/she walks to the crosswalk.  • We let cars go through first that are in the right curb lane, so remind your child to                 wait patiently at the curb until signaled by the cross walk individual who will                 support your child crossing safely. 

Remember there is only one entrance into the parking lot. Chains remain up across all other access points to parking.  

In the afternoon…

• Remain in the right lane and pull up along the yellow line till you get to the                           designated cone that will signal where cars should begin to cue up for students if           you arrive first.

• If cars are lined up to the Orange Grove exit, do not double park, but move into the             left lane and park in the first or second parking rows.

• Students will exit from the SW gate that they entered in the morning and be moved in           the direction of the sidewalk.

• After your student has gotten into your car on the passenger side, pull out from your              spot carefully and move into the left lane to exit.

• As you exit in the morning and the afternoon, it would be ideal to turn right/west-                  bound for your safety as well as the safety of your passengers, but there is no                way for us to control this, so please be aware of other surrounding cars as you                exit.

We are able to exit students in 10-15 minutes with everyone following the rules.  We know the above options are not ideal, but with your help, and a sense of humor we will all do our best to smile through the busy parking lot duty knowing that it is only a moment in time, and that everyone wants to do their best to support students exiting or entering school safely.

Counselor's Corner

Counselor’s Corner
April 2017
Stress and Test Anxiety
Mary Brannen, 6th Grade
Caryl Altman, 7th & 8th Grade
The month of April is when Arizona begins their state testing, the AzMERIT and 8th Grade AIMS Science. Although our students are faced with many challenging tasks during the year, these kinds of tests can be overwhelming because of the length and complexity, resulting in high anxiety and stress.

Here are some tips to help your child feel more confident and prepared.
1. Start the day off right. Provide a nutritious breakfast after a good night sleep. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, “Adolescents are notorious for not getting enough sleep. The average amount of sleep that teenagers get is between 7 and 7 ¼ hours. However, they need between 9 and 9 ½ hours.”
2. Teach your children to use affirmations. Come up with a phrase that you can say to your child on the way out the door and they can repeat to themselves before they tackle a difficult task.
3. Have a positive attitude. Middle school is already hard enough and our students need a lot of encouragement from a support system that includes home and school. Although it is important for students to put their very best effort into these tests, we recognize that it is just one measure of their learning throughout the year.
4. Practice mindfulness. This includes breathing, clearing your thoughts, and being present. Take each question, response, test, one at a time.
5. Don’t stress. “Try not to worry about when other people finish their work. Focus on your own test and worry about you” (AZ Daily Star).
If you or your child needs additional tips, tools, resources, support, your awesome school counselors are always here to help!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Thursday, March 23, 2017

It's Allergy Season & We're Out of Tissues

If you would be so kind....we are out of tissues and would appreciate any donations.  Thanks!

Freestyle Wrestling Camp

Friday, March 17, 2017

New School Nurse Joins OGMS

On Wednesday, March 15th Leslie Nicholson joined OGMS as our new school nurse.  We have attached a letter from her to the OGMS community.  Please feel free to contact her at 209-8204 or by email at  We are excited to have her join the OGMS team!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017

Friday, March 3, 2017

Message from the Principal

February was a busy month... 

Our students readied themselves for their Student Led Conferences, they heard messaging that supported being good digital citizens, as well as hearing reminders about lockdown and sheltering in place drills to continue to support student safety awareness. Furthermore, all students prepared for the 2017/2018 school year by going to Catalina Foothills High School and learning about their elective and core classes and our current students signed up for their 7th and 8th grade electives right here at OGMS.  

Finally, the month closes with my announced retirement and the appointment of Mark Rubin-Toles to the principalship for the 17/18 SY.  You can expect my continued dedication to your student(s) and the OGMS staff and community as I finish my contract out strong, just as I expect our students to finish their year strong.  Appointing Mr. Rubin-Toles as principal truly allows for a smooth transition for next year as we partner and continue with the planning that is already underway for the school year ahead. 

Speaking of next year, please make sure you have gone online and registered for the upcoming school year.  Simply go onto the OGMS website and click on the "Register for School" button to input your child’s information.  Ask your child if he/she has turned in his/her upcoming 7th or 8th grade elective form for band, choir, or art. Registrations allow us to hire and plan for the upcoming school year, and elective forms help us know how many sections we will have for each of our elective options. 

We are excited about all the hard work our students have been doing to ready themselves for Student-Led Conferences on March 16th and 17th.  They have developed well-organized presentations and have practiced giving it in an effective and engaging way.   Below are questions that may support you while you listen to your child share his/her work.  At the end of the SLC we will ask you to complete a quick survey letting us know how your child did and how the process went.

During the conference, we will be asking you to look at your child's introduction, how they reflected and explained pieces of their work, how they concluded their presentation, as well as what their body language and voice conveyed as they presented what we hope will be a variety of portfolio pieces.  The work your student is doing is continually evolving in this area.

Below are questions that can support you in facilitating a rich experience for your child:

Pre-Presentation Questions:

  • How did you generate a plan to present to me today?
  • How did you prepare for this presentation?

After the child shares the piece:

  • What would you say that you learned from this piece?
  • What would you do differently next time?
  • How would you alter your work where you got a 2 to a 3? 4?
  • If you were the teacher, what comments would you have given your assignment?
  • How does this work reflect your growth/effort/goals over time?
  • What ideas might you have that add to the comments your teacher has on this assignment?

Concluding Questions:

  • What would you do differently to improve your work or portfolio that you shared? Why?
  • If you had to share your strongest piece and weakest piece, what would you take away from that?
See the mock SLC presentation by clicking on .  

Thank you for helping us to provide our students with an authentic way to build their skills in self-evaluation, goal setting, organization and communication. We look forward to seeing on the 16th or 17th. 

Please know if you want to discuss your child with his/her teacher, this is always an option.  Simply email, phone, or contact his/her counselor to support a meeting or a conversation. 


Goal:  Students will be able to develop a well-organized and thoughtful SLC presentation, then deliver the presentation in an effective and engaging way.

Portfolio Pieces
Portfolio pieces needed but not included
Portfolio pieces show accomplishments, but aren’t tied to specific claims
Portfolio pieces provide evidence for claims that are made
Portfolio pieces completely and clearly support insightful claims that are made about learning and lead to further goals
Body Language and Voice
Avoids eye contact, monotone voice and stiff gestures, choppy delivery, ill at ease
Occasional eye contact, over or underdone expressions & gestures, some noticeable pauses, somewhat uncomfortable
Consistent eye contact, gestures and expression appropriate, speaks without distracting pauses, poised but not completely comfortable, confident volume and expression
Sustained eye contact with audience, natural gestures and expression, clear and well-paced voice, confident and natural volume and expression, poised and comfortable, smooth delivery
Student sets goals that don’t meet SMART goal criteria
Student sets goals that don’t always match student needs
Student sets appropriate SMART goals
Student sets SMART goals that are insightful and show a high level of self awareness
Minimally effective SLC presentation
Somewhat effective SLC presentation
Effective SLC presentation
Highly effective SLC presentation