August 1, 2012
Happy New School Year!
Welcome to the land of the Crusaders where Head, Heart and Hustle reign. "Head, Heart and Hustle" is a motto we use to communicate our expectations and hopes for our Crusaders. I like to think it has as much meaning for our adult learners as it does for our middle school students.
We want each student to use their "Head" to learn skills and concepts, comprehend different types of text and engage in discussions about important topics. We want them to use their "Heart" to be kind and compassionate; scholarship and intellect mean little if not used to benefit others. We want students to use their "Hustle" to always move forward and make progress even when it is hard; life will give us disappointment and challenge, so even when we feel like giving up, we must believe in ourselves and keep looking ahead. We ask that our parents share their Head, Heart and Hustle to support their students in learning all they can during their years with us. When we work together to hold high expectations and provide high levels of support, student are better able to think deeply, perform confidently and behave thoughtfully.
This year, our students are going to make special use of their updated Academic Planner in all their classes to support their literacy development. Literacy, the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about the written word, is absolutely critical in today's knowledge based economy. We want each Crusader to become a better reader, writer, listener and speaker. To do this, all teachers are helping students learn and apply what we call, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Readers. We are also helping studenst better understand the Key Comprehension Skills they need to be more literate. You can learn more about the 7 Habits and Comprehension Skills by reviewing the pages in your student's Academic Planner.
We are also taking our focus on Vocabulary Development to a deeper level through the use of our WOW! words - Words of the Week. Each week the entire school is going to focus on an academic vocabulary term that will be used throughout the week in all their classes. We start our WOW! words on August 27th. Students will learn about the word Perseverance through our Crusader TV morning news program. Then, they will have opportunities to practice and apply the word in their classes. Our WOW! words are spelled out in the Academic Planner. This collection of words will be added to all the other terms students learn in their classes. When students are awash in great words and language, their literacy skills grow stronger! Stronger literacy skills help our students achieve in mathematics, history, science, physical education, elective classes and more.
Middle school students often lack the confidence and belief in themselves to maximize their academic achievement. To some extent, this uncertainty is a natural part of their development. Nonetheless, we are working to help our students learn that through hard work and effort they get smarter and more confident. They can build their brains much like their muscles. Our teachers strive to give specific feedback about student performance so students can see where they are gaining academic strength and come to see themselves as strong and able scholars. We hope our families will join us in supporting students in this way.
I have been fortunate to spend much of my career with middle school students and teachers. This is a wonderful time in the lives of our young people. As childhood is passing, middle school students begin to tip toe into adulthood. Each day seems to be a unique experience. Students’ minds are open and probing; their hearts are easily touched and broken. As adults, we can do much to help and influence them during these special years. I can’t wait to greet our Crusader family as we begin a new school year!
San Marcos Middle School
Mrs. Melissa Hunt