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Advice for Parents

Although your middle schooler is becoming more independent and is increasingly involved in activities outside the family, you should and must remain the most influential person in his life. Through your involvement in school and extracurriculars, you can do much to help your child believe in the value and importance of education, be enthusiastic about learning, and achieve academic success.

As a middle-school principal, a big part of my job is to help parents support their children emotionally as well as academically. Here is my best advice for parents of preteens:

1. Help your child manage homework time. Encourage her to aim high and always do her best work. Check with teachers to see how much time should be necessary to complete homework. See what your school offers to help you help your child, such as an agenda planner or some other homework reminder system, and/or a Web site with helpful links, or after-school tutoring.

2. Show interest in his studies by talking with him daily about what he's learning and doing in school (don't take "nothing" for an answer!). If you know your child has a project for science, get involved. The same goes for cheerleading, sports, and music — any extracurricular activities.

3. Discuss ideas and feelings about school, studies, and activities. Be realistic about what your child can and should be able to do. Don't expect great grades or high test scores if she isn't capable. That expectation will only cause unnecessary frustration.

4. With your child, read and review the information that schools and districts provide. Be familiar with the pupil progression plan, course offerings, student handbook, etc. All these will help you and your child successfully weave your way through the maze called middle school.

5. Contact counselors, administrators, and teachers periodically. Find out what your child should be learning, how she is progressing, and how you can help. Be a full partner in your child's education.

6. Be sure that he attends school on a regular basis. Even if he is absent for illness or another valid reason, he needs to keep up with his studies. Call the school if your child will be missing a day, and find out what he needs to do to make up for it.

7. Encourage her to pursue interests and make friends through extracurricular activities. Be certain, however, that she selects no more than a few activities so she has adequate time for schoolwork. You must help her find a balance; this will take compromise and patience.

8. Know his friends. Who does your child hang out with? Follow up on any suspicions that you may have. It is better to be safe than sorry at this time of his life. Know where your child is at all times. Be clear and consistent with discipline.

9. Make it clear that she must follow school rules and policies. Teach her to respect people as well as property. Help her know right from wrong and what she must do when negative temptations come her way.

10. Encourage him to get to know his counselor and to maintain contact throughout his middle-school years, if possible. Not only will the counselor be invaluable in supporting his academic path, he's also one of many potential adult role models for your child.

11. Attend parent meetings, open houses, booster clubs, and other activities for parents.

12. Consistently acknowledge and reward efforts at school. Many parents expect the school to provide the incentives for their child's accomplishments. While schools do have a lot of motivation programs, parents need to recognize their child's successes too. When your child works hard, your acknowledgment motivates him to persist.

None of us are perfect and we sometimes make mistakes in raising our children. But your child needs your love and respect. She needs to become independent, responsible, and self-sufficient to succeed in most of her endeavors in school and at home. The best way to help her in all aspects of development is to try to ensure that her emotional needs are consistently met. Your understanding, common sense, adult judgment, and good sense of humor can make these middle-school years a joy for both you and your child.

Motivation and Organization
General Study Hints (Motivation and Organization)

      BE AWARE WITH CLASS MATERIAL INTERFERING WITH EACH OTHER. When memorizing information, be careful of class material interfering with each other.  What happens is that you may forget the old material while trying to learn the new material.  Try memorizing material for each class on different days.  Review the night before, or a few hours before, the test. (time management).
      GO TO CLASS. If you want to do well in school, attendance is important.  If you miss class, you miss what the teacher thinks is important; hence, what is most likely to end up on the test.  (motivation)
      PARTICIPATE IN CLASS. In order to learn more in class it helps to participate in class discussions.  Asking questions to clarify and maintain eye contact with your professor can increase your participation and your focus during the class discussion.  Listen to your teacher and then try to guess what he or she is going to say next.  If the material is difficult, it helps to read the material before you go to class.  This helps you follow along in class.  (motivation)
      IF YOU NEED TO MISS A CLASS. If you have to miss class, let your teacher know.  It is very helpful to have a reliable classmate from whom you can get the notes.  Exchange telephone numbers (with someone who is passing the class) in case of an emergency.  (organization)
      TAKE GOOD NOTES. Try not to write down everything.  All you need are the main points and put in your own words.  Write unfamiliar terms.  Review your notes as soon after class as possible.  You can fill in details that you missed and review the material while it is still fresh on your mind. (organization)
      USE YOUR TEXTBOOK. Some teachers follow the book closely.  In this case it is helpful to take the book with you to class and write down topics or terms and write notes from the book. (organization)
      TALK TO YOUR TEACHER. If you are struggling in class, talk to your teacher.  He or she may be able to give you more help or tutor you before or after class.  Most teachers have little sympathy for students who become concerned about failing during the last few weeks of the grading period.  (motivation)
      FORM STUDY GROUPS. Get students together who are motivated to do well in the class.  Make sure that everyone is familiar with the material, because you do not want to spend time re-teaching material to people who do not understand.  Be careful!  Sometimes group session can become chatting sessions.  Set yourselves on a goal and then once completed, then have your chatting session. (motivation)
      START AT THE BEGINNING. Start studying; from the first day you make the change or better yet, the first day of school.  It’s never too late, but you have to make the decision to make the change. (motivation)
      KEEP ORGANIZED. Try to keep your backpack, folders, and locker neat.  You should be able to locate papers at any moment when a teacher requests them.  Also, keep in mind that some classes require more effort than others.  For example, Math and foreign languages are subjects, which require daily work.  These subjects build on materials from the day before, so you have to keep up in these classes.  (organization)
Pennsylvania Academic Standards

Pennsylvania Academic Standards

The State Board approved the final Chapter 4 regulations on September 12, 2013. The Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) approved the final regulation on November 21, 2013. With publication of Chapter 4 in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the new regulations took effect on March 1, 2014.

As part of the new regulations, Pennsylvania’s Core Standards offer a set of rigorous, high-quality academic expectations in English Language Arts and Mathematics that all students should master by the end of each grade level. The PA Core Standards are robust and relevant to the real world and reflect the knowledge and skills our young people need to succeed in life after high school, in both post-secondary education and a globally competitive workforce.

Student Registration

Documents needed for registration

  1. Parent/Legal Guardian must provide photo Identification (examples: Current PA Drivers License/Non-Drivers License or valid Federal, State or Municipal employment identification, Passport).
  2. Proof of Residency (examples: Deed, Original Rental Agreement/Lease (must be typed, signed by all parties and notarized), Current Voter Registration Card, Current Utility Bill, Foster care and agency letters are also acceptable for registration when student is in the care of a Foster/child care agency. Shelter placement or residency letters are also acceptable for homeless students).
  3. Proof of your child’s age. Acceptable proof includes birth, baptismal or other religious certificates, a passport or immigration documents.
  4. Your child's Health Appraisal Forms and immunization records showing proof of the following inoculations: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Poliomyelitis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella (German measles), Hepatitis B, and Varicella (chicken pox).
  5. Your child’s most recent report card and any other useful information (IEP, etc.) from the child’s former school or school district.

Alternative Exceptions

Religious Exemption: Pupils need not be immunized if the parent or guardian objects, in writing, to the immunization based on religious beliefs or strong moral/ethical convictions.

Medical Exemption: Pupils need not be immunized if a physician or his/her designee states, in writing, that immunization may be detrimental to the health of the child. When the physician determines that immunization is no longer detrimental to the health of the child, the medical exemption ceases to be valid and the child must be immunized.

Summer Reading - Assessment
(week of June 16th)
May 27, 2014
Dear DMS Families:
            Please be advised that your 7th and/or 8th grade student(s) will be required to participate in our new summer reading list. To insure flexibility, our list will be extensive by providing students with a variety in order to choose a desired book.
      Our technician will place Accelerated Reading (AR) software on all 30 computers in our computer lab.  This way, our reading teachers will be able to take one class at a time to complete their summer reading requirements.
      Upon return to the 2014-2015 school year; students will be assessed on the book(s) he or she read during the first week of school according to the below criteria:
·         Honors 1 and 2 will be required to read 2 books (one from the fiction list, one from the non- fiction list)   
·         Average students will be required to read 1 book (either fiction or non-fiction from the list)
·         Itinerant students will be required to read 1 book (either fiction or non-fiction from the list); unless otherwise specified in your child's IEP. Any questions, please contact your child's Learning Support teacher.
Online Grades Instructions
These steps are: 
1. Go to the portal and complete the initial registration. 
2. Your registration then shows under the "pending" heading on our end in the system.  This is checked daily.  We then approve your registration. This puts you in the approved list in the system, and generates an email to the address you provided.  The school’s part is done at this point.
3. You have to click the link in the email to complete the activation. This changes them from "approved" to "active" in the system.  You have not completed the registration process until this email link is confirmed by you.  You will not be able to view anything in the system until you are activated.
Keystone Exams / SAS Portal

Keystone Exams

The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments designed to assess proficiency in various subjects. During the 2013-2014 school year the following Keystone Exams will be available: Algebra I, Literature and Biology. In future years, pending funding, additional Keystone Exams will be administered.

The Keystone Exams are one component of Pennsylvania’s proposed system of high school graduation requirements. Keystone Exams will help school districts guide students toward meeting state standards.

Please visit the Standards Aligned System (SAS portal) at: www.pdesas.org to create an account to learn more about Keystone Exams as well as reviewing much more information from the state level (PA Department of Education - PDE).

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