It’s hard to believe that the end first quarter is just a short few weeks away! Although this letter is identical to an insert your child brought home in their planner earlier in the year, we wanted to make sure you had another opportunity to view the same information in case you have any questions.
At OMS, our vision is learning together in a respectful, positive, student-focused learning environment where essential standards are achieved by all students. In line with this vision, we have some important upgrades on how we report student progress on report cards and honor them for a job well done. Our way of reporting progress will be through a 4-point scale on a variety of essential standards in each class. Behavior will be reported out separately. Our goal is to be able to communicate through the report card individual student strengths and opportunities for growth.
Reporting categories are as follows:
4.0 = Advanced: Superior mastery of grade level standard
3.5 = High Proficient: Progressing toward advanced mastery of grade level standard
3.0 = Proficient: Meets grade level standard
2.5 = Low Proficient: Inconsistent understanding of grade level standard
2.0 = Basic = Limited understanding of grade level standard
1.5 = Beginning: Little to no understanding of grade level standard
1.0 = No Evidence/Insufficient evidence to determine understanding of grade level standard
Student strengths and what we value at OMS go far beyond traditional ways of only honoring students for good grades. Students at OMS will be honored quarterly through school and the Lakeshore Weekly for a variety of achievements and behaviors.
Thank you for partnering with us in your child’s education! We are off to a great start to the 18-19 school year.
As March Madness is in full effect in the basketball world and the Badgers once again prepare to play for a spot in the Elite Eight, OMS is experiencing its own version of March Madness. March Madness at OMS means students working hard to end third quarter strong so they can spend Spring Break having fun with family and friends.
In Mr. Rings 7th grade science classes, they just culminated a unit on force and friction. They culminated the unit by designing CO2 cars; using what they learned while abiding by certain specifications. It was fun to see students fully engaged from the design/drawing phase of the project, to building the car, to the final weigh in and check for abiding by other specification limits, and finally, racing their cars against their classmates. Cars, brackets for the races, and actual race day pictures are below.
A special thank you to OCEF for funding the purchase of the electrical racing unit through their education grants!
Another hands on, highly engaging, learning activity that 8th grade students participated in this week was a Breakout EDU on the book “The BFG”. Eighth grade students in Mrs. Vandoske-Buzaitis’ literature classes worked collaboratively to solve a series of critical thinking puzzles in order to open a locked box. They had to work within a time crunch, utilizing clues from quotes from the book and other related items to figure out the combinations to a variety of locks. Again, this learning task involved a great amount of brain power and team work to unlock the box. Student engagement in the task and ability to endure despite multiple failed attempts was so fun to observe! Thank you for the collaborative efforts of Mrs. Vandoske-Buzaitis and Mrs. Wray to give the students this experience.
I’m wishing everyone a wonderful Spring Break next week. My hope is that students and staff return re-energized and focused to finish out the 4th quarter of the 16-17 school year. There’s a lot to accomplish yet in terms of student learning.
As a parent of three boys, I find myself on a daily basis wrestling with helping my children (and me, to be completely honest) find a balance with the use of screen time. In our digital world of social media, Smartphones, Chromebooks, Ipods, Ipads, and laptops, not to mention Xbox, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, Playstation 4, DS, etc., the possibilities for screen time are endless. Our children are surrounded by the temptations of electronics every. single. day. These temptations are not going away, so the question becomes, “How do we navigate this digital world we live in and help teach and guide our children to use technology in a productive and meaningful way?”
If you are like me and are struggling as a parent, grandparent, youth leader, or simply want to learn more about dealing with the realities of our digital world, please join us for a viewing of the documentary Screenagers on Monday, February 20, 2017 in the OHS Auditorium from 6-8 pm. Not only does Screenagers bring forth the realities of the technologically connected world we live in, but it also teaches us about the impact screen time has on the developing brain. Most valuable, in my opinion, is the documentary brings forth practical solutions and tips for raising children to be responsible consumers of technology. After the viewing Screenagers, district staff will lead a discussion among participants and provide more resources to help adults, help children and adolescents. Resources will include links to sample screen time contracts, parenting apps to monitor and block usage, apps to use with teens (or adults) who drive and may be tempted to use their phone while behind the wheel, links to articles written on the topic, as well as a list of pro-social video games.
If I haven’t convinced you yet to join us on this very important, and free, evening for our community, and you’d like to learn more about Screenagers, please visit http://www.screenagersmovie.com/. All OMS students will watch the movie on the afternoon of Thursday, February 23, 2017. After the movie, students will break into small groups led by OMS staff for a follow-up discussion.
Due to space being limited, advance registration is requested. Please go to http://bit.ly/ScreenagersOSD to register. Please note that although it may appear that there is a fee to attend due to options to pay by credit card, the event is indeed free. There is also an opportunity to register for free childcare (ages 10 and under). The OHS Key Club will be providing this service to families. All who register in advance will receive a free soda and popcorn to enjoy during the movie.
Please spread the word regarding this awesome opportunity to learn more about how to empower our children and teens to be technologically responsible!
As I was brainstorming ideas for this blog post, I started to think about factors that impact student achievement. Being a parent of three school age boys myself, my mind wandered to thinking about me. How does my involvement as a parent influence their academic achievement, I wondered? We all know that parental involvement in their child’s education is important, but what impact does it really have? Are there certain qualities of parental involvement that have a higher impact than other qualities? This prompted me to do a bit of research and this is what I learned:
1. Parental involvement does in fact matter, but not all aspects of parental involvement are created equal.
2. Across meta-analyses, one of the biggest positive impacts on student achievement correlated to parental expectations. High expectations for strong academic achievement significantly increases student achievement, regardless of how that achievement was measured (i.e. GPA, grades, standardized test results).
3. To a lesser degree than expectations, but still significant, were more time intensive parental involvement factors such as reading with and communicating with children about school.
4. Other factors or facets of parental involvement included attendance at school functions and volunteering in school programs.
Although certainly nothing earth shattering or new, it was reassuring to see that parental expectations alone have a significant impact on student achievement. When we value education, believe that our children can learn at high levels, and consistently have high expectations for our children’s school performance, these actions matter! These expectations, coupled with an interest in your child’s education through communicating about and taking an interest in what they are learning, are relatively easy strategies to implement to positively impact their educational outcomes.
Therefore, if you are a parent who struggles with your children over school work or simply doesn’t value education due to your own school experiences, I plead with you to have high expectations for your child(ren) regarding their education. Don’t give up on them and consistently communicate with them that effort and strategy matter.
Students at OMS have been busy learning by doing in science classes. It’s one thing to listen to a teacher instruct and have a discussion with peers around science content and processes, but it’s another thing to actively engage students in what they are learning about. It brings learning to life and makes learning more lasting and meaningful.
In 6th grade, students are integrating technology into the curriculum as they learn about the periodic table and specific elements within the periodic table. Rather than simply learning about various elements through more traditional means, students had to research a specific element and create a presentation using a platform they may not have experienced before. Some students created their own website, while others filmed themselves using WeVideo, created comic strips with Pixton, used an ampped up power point type of online presentation with Emaze, produced a presentation using code, or created their own book on an element with Story Jumper. Click on these links to view a couple projects. Titanium, Chlorine.
In 7th grade, students are busy designing, building, and racing their own dragster! Through this unit, students are learning about the Forces and Interactions part of their standards and much more. The cars are propelled by CO2 cartridges so concepts of Newton’s 3rd law of motion will be evident for students to see. (3rd Law – For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.) The cars are also a great way to teach students scientific principles of motion in an engaging, hands-on learning environment. Through activities, labs, and discussions students will learn why certain cars are faster or slower than others. Analyzing all this data will foster questions and needed answers in friction, weight, and size of vehicle. Data collected will result in students analyzing and reading complex data tables. These skills are key components of the College and Career Readiness Standards . Students will graph their car’s results and analyze and report complex data. This allows students to interact with technology while engaging in high-level thinking skills needed in scientific predicting, unpacking data, preparing hard data-based conclusions, and presenting their findings. Furthermore, this activity brings in the engineering components of science when designing the car. Students are required to follow a spec sheet (complex data table) that gives minimum and maximum measurements for weight, height, axle placement, draw blueprints of their car, and trace the design on a wood block before it is cut. That’s a lot of learning packed into one unit!
While 7th graders are building and racing dragsters, 8th graders recently completed a unit on forensic science. They were presented with a murder mystery and worked in groups to figure out who murdered Ms. Lois McArthur. Students were presented with specific pieces of evidence collected at the crime scene and had to compare that to the evidence from a variety of suspects in the case. They had to investigate all of the evidenced gathered by the forensic lab and came to realize the complexity of crime scene investigation. Students created charts to analyze their evidence. They did a hair analysis, fiber identification, blood analysis, fingerprint identification, and handwriting analysis, and then summarized their findings of the evidence in a written report. This unit focused specifically on content and process related standards.
These are just a few examples of the great work OMS students are doing in science. Student learning is multifaceted and one of the best ways to engage students in their learning is to get them active and use what they are learning in real life situations or scenarios. The science team district wide is focusing on teaching science content through the processes of scientific investigation, interpretation of data, and evaluation of models, inferences, and experimental results. These are the college and career readiness standards in Science.
First semester and second quarter are officially complete for the 15-16 school year. Students at OMS have been busy learning. Opportunities have been plenty for them to show us the progress they’ve made in their learning thus far this school year. Along with more informal measures of student progress and growth that teachers utilize throughout the year, we most recently completed mid-year formal assessment of student learning in the areas of reading, English, math, and science using the ACT Aspire Periodic or Interim Assessment.
In fact, I’m eager to meet with different content area teams tomorrow during our in-service time to have conversations around student growth and progress toward their Student Learning Objectives (SLO’s) that they set at the beginning of the year. Each team set specific and measurable goals for their students to meet by the end of the year. We will be discussing progress toward those goals, as well as what instructional strategies have been most effective to date and those that they want to implement the second half of the year in an attempt to meet their student learning goals.
With the end of the semester comes a change in student high interest classes. Students will be spending the second half of the year participating in two different high interest classes than they had first semester. Other than this change, all other classes at OMS remain the same the duration of the school year.
Report cards will be forthcoming. Our goal is to have them in the hands of the students to bring home next week Friday, 2/5/16. If you have any questions, concerns, or what to discuss your child’s progress in more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s teachers. Communication and working together to understand your child’s strengths and opportunities for growth are key to student success. We are certainly here to work with you!
Finally, safety is always our number one concern. With this being said, if you or an older child drop your child off at the beginning or end of the school day, please drop off/pick up your child on the road. The lane in front of school is reserved for buses only. I’ve noticed an increase in the number of cars pulling in the circle which makes it difficult for the buses to get in and out of the drive safely and efficiently.