Principal Conner's Early Spring Newsletter

Principal Conner's Early Spring Newsletter
Posted on 02/22/2016

Happy early spring to our McClure Families!

I am writing to catch you up on a few things at McClure as we move further into our second semester of the 2015-16 school year. 

First, last month our outstanding ASB led an inspiring Martin Luther King, Jr. assembly which focused on standing up for social justice in our world, encouraging acceptance and using Martin Luther King’s words and actions as an inspiration in our coexistence as a school and community.  This semester, our ASB will be continuing to focus on great leaders and their contributions to creating a better world; this messaging will be apparent throughout the school as the year continues. 

In other news, I am so delighted by the work going in our McClure classrooms over the past few months.  Students are really digging in on becoming expert writers; when I pop into classrooms, I see them taking ownership over the skills that are being taught across disciplines, particularly in academic writing (writing claims, using evidence and reasoning to back them up.) This is not just occurring in Language Arts classrooms, but in Social Studies, Science and even Math.  It is also fascinating to watch students struggle with and become adept at identifying the difference between argumentative claims and informational claims in their writing- not an easy task!  In the past month, I have also talked with a few McClure alumnae who shared they are well-prepared for high school thanks to level of rigor and the skills they developed at McClure – music to my ears!! 

Other fun events I witnessed in the last few weeks – kids going head to head at our McClure Spelling Bee (so impressive!!), McClure basketball athletes exemplifying outstanding sportsmanship, composure and grit on the court and students being rewarded for outstanding lunchtime behaviors and collective responsibility (the great competition between 1st, 2nd and 3rd lunch…such a tight race with only a two-point difference between 1st and 2nd lunch…1st lunch won a popsicle treat!).

Upcoming Testing: Like all other schools in the state, McClure has one year of the newly minted Smarter Balance State Achievement (SBA)  test under its belt. Our team and students did an outstanding job last year of preparing for and administering the 2014-15 test; we also learned a lot the first time through. This year we are thinking about how to reduce obstruction to instructional time even more.  I am working on garnering more technology/computers so more students can take their tests at the same time. The prescribed “pre-teaching” portions of the test have been eliminated so this will also cut down on the time needs of the test.

As a quick reminder, these are annual state-mandated assessments that measure how well students are meeting the College and Career Readiness Standards taught in our classrooms in math, reading and writing. The online assessments help us view student growth and determine which students may need more support or more challenge. We use this information to guide our work with students, to effectively shape our professional development and also to inform how we manage our resources. 

Scheduling: Our school testing window will most likely be early May (more information to come). Note that we are ready to accommodate students with special needs.  On assessment days, please do your best to avoid taking vacations. You don’t need to prepare in any other way at home, but you and your child are welcome to walk through the practice tests linked from our assessment web page.

Finally, if families refuse to have their students take the Smarter Balance State Test, they must fill out a refusal form that is provided on the Seattle Public Schools website; please note, that when a student’s family refuses to allow their child to take the state test, the student receives a “zero” on the test; this also counts as a zero score for our school which depletes our school’s overall achievement score.  For students who refuse to take the test, McClure will provide a supervised location for them to read and/or work on classwork.

For more information about the Smarter Balance State Test please consult the District website here:

https://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=8890025

Student Policy/Supports:

We wanted to make sure that we communicate with families our policies and systems that are in place at McClure, particularly if they are not clearly outlined in the current student handbook.  The spirit of the following school procedures is to emphasize to students and families the importance of arriving to school and class on time and fulfilling the expectations (both behaviorally and academically) of our McClure PRIDE matrix.  These are not necessarily “new” practices but we are working hard this year to make expectations and consequences more clear to our students and families which, in turn, should support students in their achievement as scholars at McClure.

Important Announcement Regarding Tardies

Due to a high number of student tardies, McClure has instituted the following policy:  every three tardies a student accumulates will result in the assignment of one lunch detention.  Once a student serves this detention, the number of tardies counted will begin again.  The tardies are counted individually—it does not matter in which class they occurred or when they accumulated, including lateness to school.  3=detention.  When a student is assigned their first detention for 3-tardies, an attempt is made to contact the student’s family to communicate the tardy status; this may be in the form of an email or a tardy notice delivered via the student.

If a student accrues more than 18 tardies (six total detentions for tardiness), other consequences will be imposed with parent involvement.  This includes assignment to Thursday PRIDE Academy to provide support for students to manage their time more efficiently or if the tardies are impacting grades (especially tardiness to school resulting in failing grades in 1st period), the assignment to Thursday Academy for Academics.

THURSDAY Academy

This is a bi-weekly support provided for students with academic or behavior challenges (including maintaining on-time arrival to school).  Students are recommended by their teacher, counselor or the Assistant Principal based upon a determination of the student’s individual need for support or a dedicated time to complete or resubmit classwork.  Parents will be contacted with assigned Thursday Academy dates.  Depending on the Academy to which the student is assigned, Academy involves coaching and some tools in the area of decision making and prioritization in addition to time to work on school work.  Thursday Academy is a two- hour commitment 2:30-4:30 every other week. Snack is provided. Families are responsible for transportation home.

Inappropriate/Hurtful Language used at School

We at McClure are working diligently to help all of our students be successful and well-prepared for High School and a successful future (Our McClure Vision).  This spring, we are focusing time and resources on educating students around the impact of words, reviewing what constitutes bullying, harassment and intimidation, and how students can help further improve the climate of our school by refraining from using hurtful language.

Additionally, in an effort to help McClure students understand the impact of the words we speak and use while conducting ourselves around the school community, consequences will be assigned for the use of  intolerant, vulgar or otherwise inappropriate language in various locations (hallway, classroom, as examples).

Infraction for language will result in 15 minute lunch detention during which time the student will

1) write a statement as to the meaning of the words for which s/he was cited,

2) include the way in which it negatively impacted others and

3) identify what corrective action the student will take

The student will then be asked to call his/her parent and read them his/her statement.

In lieu of a parent (not being available), the statement will be either emailed, or read to a staff member.

Use of Camera Phone Technology

Please note the following information which has been shared multiple times with McClure students:

McClure students are not allowed to take pictures of classmates, teachers or themselves at school.

It is our expectation that phones are NOT out during class at any time unless the classroom teacher has asked students to use their devices for a learning activity. Currently, (SY2016-17) students may use their phones to access various media during lunch but may not take photographs. This is to ensure everyone’s image is protected which is a rule and a right.

Students found in 1st time violation of this policy will be required to check in their phones in the attendance office. Subsequent violations can result in parent involvement and/or complete loss of privilege to have your phone at school for the remainder of the school year.

How to stay informed about McClure events and news!  The only ongoing communication regarding school news and events that is sent out is through the PTSA McClure Newsletter. Because of privacy laws, you don’t receive the newsletter automatically, so must sign up for it yourself by entering your email address through the website.  We encourage every family to sign up for the newsletter to stay up to date with happenings at the school.  To sign up you can follow the link below:

http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin?v=001QCEETLfRg3YE3-FRDqKWt3adXlLQBSjjK21y3esEPpGpVRcPYD4WAiz_l5k3JGXPlp1N9SWtILu9EIFQAk5LAjKYtqb10A_X-7PALgjobEfI8NWkBfl4J9-J96FPTlvfTsvN35iUNwdMWXGQ27128At7nfP6kDBFNJLPfkBBFXM7PvP-LHKQxqiHCkEmqMmP32sqt1qY6yA%3D

Or from the McClure website home page menu, choose “School Involvement,” and then “Subscribe to the PTSA weekly newsletter.”  Enter your email address and first and last names and click “Sign Up.”

You should be good to go!

That’s it for now Maverick families. Enjoy the onset of Spring.

Go Mavs!!

Shannon Conner

Principal, McClure Middle School

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