Hello Discovery Parents and Families,

It is the end of January, and 2nd semester is about to begin. That means we are half way through the year!  Mid-semester means less to us at the middle school since we operate on trimesters, but the concept of renewing our commitment to the work is still relevant. One of the things we continually struggle with in middle school students is motivation. Hard work is hard. Middle school kids don’t necessarily see that persistence pays off. Making ourselves do things we might not feel like doing is not easy. Yet, a student’s effort in learning and doing their best is a critical component of success in school and in life. iReady testing in math and ELA is underway and will continue until mid-February. iReady proficiency is a key data point as we look to forecasting for student placement in courses next year, including those moving on to high school. iReady growth is also a key data point for us to monitor our progress and measure the impact our instruction has on student learning. Please encourage your students to do their VERY best when they take both the Math and ELA assessments over the next few weeks. It will be a good warm-up for SBAC testing in May.

Allow me a little soap box time this month…..Let’s be honest, some of our students are struggling with conflict management. Not all, not even most (90% of our students NEVER see the office for discipline!) . But enough that it is something we need to work on in order to have a KIND and CARING environment that fosters learning and safety for all. Developmentally speaking, middle school is a time where students struggle with managing conflict as they learn the skills required to disagree peacefully. To talk out problems rather than lash out. To be respectful when there is something wrong in a relationship rather than blast someone with harsh words and insults. Social media has made this more difficult due to the ease of posting something in the moment of anger only to wish you could take it back once you calm down. Let’s commit together to expect and teach our students to do better. Let’s teach our kids that resolving a conflict by talking it out is better than insults or violence. I dream of a school where KINDNESS, CARING, EMPATHY and RESPECT help students overcome the problems they face. Please join me in reinforcing appropriate ways to resolve our issues with students. I always tell students they have 3 choices when there is an issue to address: Ignore it, it’s not your problem, OR talk it out with respect and kindness, OR tell an adult so we can help you talk it out with respect and kindness. Let’s be better and do better than what is sometimes modeled for us by our national leaders. Thanks for listening.

The MYP learner profile focus for the month of February is INQUIRER. Inquirers develop natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in their learning. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives. Think about what being an Inquirer means in adult life. Inquirers have moved our society forward at many turns of technological and societal development. It is what keeps us striving to get better and find out ways to improve. Share with them how you inquire in your daily life. Encourage their natural curiosity and how they can show independence in their learning at school and in life. My goal for everyone in our Discovery community is to make a positive difference in people’s lives every day. Improving the culture of our school is an ongoing focus for all of us. Let’s make a difference!

Empowering students to create a better world,

Mark Cain