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Mr. McClure's Weekly Blog - Week 12 Print E-mail
Mr. McClure's Weekly Blog
Week of:  October 20 - 24
Week 12
“The Principal’s Post”


2014-2015 iCARE CAMPAIGN CELEBRATION EVENT

As many of you may already be aware, throughout this school year, SMS is celebrating by highlighting one of our core beliefs as a school, that, “everyone shares a responsibility for success.”  Our school’s theme for 2014-2015 is, “iCARE.” 

i

C ommit

A spire

R elate

E ngage

On Friday (October 24th) we will be having a very unique, and special, school-wide event to showcase our iCARE campaign.  And, in preparation for the planned activities that day, we are asking that all SMS students make it a point to wear their iCARE tee shirts to school on Friday. 

We are going to be having very special picture opportunities as a school, as well as having a very special guest speaker visiting us that morning.  Bob Mortimer will be with us to share how his own iCARE attitude has fueled his success notwithstanding his own physical challenges.

And did you know that Friday, October 24th is “iCARE Day” for the City of Seymour!  Don’t take our word for it.  Mayor Luedeman has proclaimed it so!  J  (Please click here to see a copy of the Mayor’s “iCARE Day” proclamation.)

Friday promises to be a very enjoyable, educational and memorable day for our students.  Remember SMS, wear your iCARE tee shirts Friday!

FIRST QUARTER GRADE CARDS

As the first quarter concluded last Wednesday, October 15th, please be looking for your child’s report card to come home with him/her this Thursday, October 23rd or Friday, October 24th.  Please feel free to contact your child’s teachers and/or counselor with any questions.  With the ending of one grading period, we start a new grading period this week.  Our work continues!!!

STUDENT CONVOCATIONS

This week I will be holding my second series of convocations with the students, in their respective teams, to provide some “first quarter feedback” for this ‘14-‘15 school year. 

Since we last met (reference: “The Principal’s Post” – weeks 2 & 3), we have:   completed a grading period, have had a school-wide reward activity, opened the OWLey Galley reward store, initiated our clubs program (SMS 7/8), and have received our Spring 2014 ISTEP+ results.  We have much to discuss.  And as I promised the students in our first meeting together, we will be following up as to our progress.

We continue to stress, daily, our need to practice the “Three R’s” . . . Respect, Responsibility, Resourcefulness . . . of SMS.  It is important for the students to realize that our improvement as a school is directly correlated to our “Three R” efforts.  IF we want to see our students, our school, and our scores continue to improve, we cannot abandon our core principles, nor can we only choose to exercise them when we “feel like it.”  Our Three R posture is a day-to-day, hour-by-hour, decision that we exercise to our benefit . . . or fail to exercise to our detriment.

My message to them . . . “Leave as little to chance as possible.  Preparation is the key to success.”  Attitude, effort and commitment to themselves and to each other are how we will all achieve at higher levels.  This is what our 2014-2015 “iCARE” theme is all about . . . Committing, Aspiring, Relating, Engaging.

I am going to continue to admonish them about their homework completion and overall academic effort.  After this week, we are T-minus 76 school days and counting before our Spring 2015 ISTEP+ testing begins.  The 7th and 8th grade students will remember from last year that we began talking about ISTEP in October.  The reason:  it remains, quite literally, our school’s report card.  It’s our “big dance!”  It’s our “big chance!”  It’s our “Super Bowl!!”  They know that what they choose to do in the days and weeks between now and March 2015 will say it all come test time.  Every day, regardless of the academic quarter, counts!

Under the “right” circumstances, with the “right” support networks, the “right” instructional strategies, the “right” attitude and effort, SMS will not only be transitional, it will be transformational for our students.  What I want to continue to impress upon them, and us as parents and teachers, is that we are in this collective effort together.  It takes all three to complete the “success equation.”  A three legged stool won’t stand with a missing leg.  In similar fashion, without the co-equal effort and commitment of the school/ parents/students . . . all three . . . our success structure fails.

Please inquire with your child as to what we discussed.  In doing so, you will be helping us communicate to him/her that there are many people who care about them and their success. 

Note: All three grade convocation presentations will be available for parents as part of next week’s post.

INFORMATION NOW - STUDENT GRADE ACCESS

As announced last week, students have been issued username and password information that will allow them, and you, to access their online grade information.

Parent username and passwords are expected to be ready by December, but in using your student’s username and password information now parents/guardians can begin accessing student attendance, discipline and grade information immediately.

Using the iNow link on this website (click the “Parent” tab on our header above and select “iNow” from the drop down menu), you can access up-to-date academic progress, attendance and discipline records for your child.

You may also access your child’s information by clicking here:  https://193080.stiinformationnow.com/InformationNow/

2015 ISTEP+ TEST COUNTER

As many of you may know, the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus (ISTEP+) measures what students know and are able to do at each grade level 3-8.  Based on Indiana's Academic Standards, ISTEP+ provides a learning “check-up” to make sure that students are on track.  It also helps to signal whether they need extra help and where that intervention can be directed.

During my team meeting convocations with the students, I continued to stress with the students the importance of this test.  In our team meetings together, we agreed that there was much, much more to school than simply a test.  However, they were reminded that their performance each year on the ISTEP+ exam is all that the state cares about.  That is our reality, and they were reminded of this.

I am pleased to share that the old expressions that we used to hear . . . those like, “ISTEP doesn’t count toward my class ‘grade,’ so why do I need to try my best?” . . . aren’t heard anymore.   We have begun to replace that narrative with one that supports each other in our efforts as we are “in” this together.

Teachers ask ISTEP-type questions on chapter tests, use ISTEP vocabulary in class and when giving assignment directions, and continue to “talk up” the importance of the test.  The students understand that our progress is a direct reflection of their efforts and commitment to reach for more.  Their “ISTEP+ grade,” individually and collectively as a school, REMAINS the defining grade of their entire year.

To “set the stage” for this year’s test, we start counting down . . . again. Beginning this week, “T-minus _____ days to ISTEP+ testing” becomes part of our daily announcement ritual.  Again for 2014-2015, we are counting down to our SMS ISTEP+ test/success day!

In counting down, it is a daily reminder that it is not only our performance on the test dates that will determine our “climb” to increased levels of success, we stress that it is each day, between now and then, that we MAKE COUNT in preparing for test day.  Only in treating each school day with intensity and purpose will we secure our success. 

Beginning in this week’s post, we begin our 2015 count down together.

This week:  T-minus 81, 80, 79, 78, 77.



Until next week...
 
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