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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

Notice from the Health Office


HEAD LICE: A Letter from the School Health Office

To Parents/Guardians:
We have had some cases of pediculosis (head lice) reported at OGMS. There has been a resurgence of head lice in recent years. Anyone can get head lice regardless of income, age, sex, race and neighborhood. Head lice are very tiny insects that live on the scalp of humans.  They can spread very fast from person to person through direct contact with combs, bedding, articles of clothing or head gear of an infected person.  Persons who have head lice may have persistent head scratching. It is hard to see head lice as they move quickly and shy away from light.  The nits, or eggs, are tiny, pinpoint size,  round glistening pearl-like beads attached firmly to the hair shaft close to the scalp. Nits can resemble flakes of dandruff but cannot be easily removed because they adhere to the hair shaft with a “glue” like substance.  They are commonly found behind the ears and at the nape of the neck.

Please check your child’s head and other members of your family. If you find nits or head lice proceed with the following instructions.  All cases must be reported to the school health office.

1.         Shampoo the hair with an appropriate shampoo or cream rinse which is labeled for controlling lice. Some examples include Nix and Rid.  These and other products are available at your local drug store, or they may be prescribed by a doctor. A second treatment in 7 to 10 days after the initial treatment may be necessary to kill remaining eggs depending on the product used.  Be sure to follow the directions on the label!!!  Do not use remedies or products that are not labeled for controlling lice as these may not work and they may even be harmful.  After shampooing, rinse hair thoroughly and rub dry with a clean towel.  After shampooing, comb the hair to remove remaining lice and nits.

2.         The MOST important treatment is to "Comb Out" EVERY louse and nit!  Comb well with a clean, fine-toothed comb to manually remove lice and loosen the nits.  Some of the most effective combs on the market are the LiceMeister or the Robi Comb (see, which are available at many drugstores or online.  The National Pediculosis Association has the LiceMeister comb and also a very informative website.  Go to or call 1-888-542-3634 for assistance.  Other excellent advice is from the Harvard School of Public Health:

3.         Wash all dirty clothing, linens and towels in a hot or warm wash cycle.  Non-washable items may be dry-cleaned, or they may be vacuumed and sealed in a black plastic bag for two weeks.

4.         Soak combs, brushes, hair picks, etc. in hot (almost boiling) water for at least 15 minutes.

5.         Vacuum car seats, chairs, couches and other furniture where the children sit, sleep or play in order to remove lice or loose hair that may have nits attached.  Lice only live for 1-2 days off a human head.  You do not need to apply household pesticides.  Pets do not harbor head lice.

6.         Teach your child to avoid getting head lice by not sharing hats, combs, brushes, scarves or coats.      Continue DAILY head checks for nits and live lice for 2 weeks and then on a regular basis at home.

Thank you for your help and attention in the efforts to keep our school’s students healthy learners.  Please contact the school health office, PIMA COUNTY HEALTH DEPT. (243-7797) or your health care provider with any further questions.

Allison Holmes and Lyndee Jones

School Nurses

Counselor's Corner

Counselor’s Corner

March Edition

March Madness!
March means basketball and those brackets we’ll soon be completing!  Here at Orange Grove, we have been learning a different kind of bracketing, or compartmentalizing.

Webster's Dictionary defines compartmentalize as:
·        To separate (something) into sections or categories
·        To separate (two or more things) from each other
·        To put (something) in a place that is separate from other things.

What does this mean in terms of supporting our students attain optimal learning?
It means teaching them to put aside thoughts that disrupt or inhibit the learning at hand.  For example, while in math class, thoughts should be focused only on math, not an English assignment, the soccer game after school, or a video game.  According to Marzano and Pickering, bracketing is a process of maintaining focus and attention by consciously blocking out distractions.  They suggest doing this by first, recognizing when it’s time to pay attention, next acknowledging distracting thoughts and mentally framing or “bracketing” them, then finally, making a commitment to avoid thinking about the distracting thoughts.  Examples of bracketing may include:
·        Use self-talk. (“I won’t think about it now”)
·        Designate a later time to think about it. (“I will think about it at the end of class”)
·        Mentally picture pushing the distracting thoughts out of their head.

Have a conversation with your child about this valuable skill and give examples of  how compartmentalizing benefits you in your daily life. Assisting students to compartmentalize their thoughts and focus only on what is before them will help streamline learning and focus.

As always, contact us for more information on this or any concern/question we can help you with.

Happy Spring!

Mary Brannen  6th grade Counselor
Caryl Altman, 7th & 8th grade Counselor

Source: Dimensions of Learning, Robert J. Marzano and Debra J. Pickering, 1997 McREL