Hello Discovery Parents and Families,

Welcome back to another school year! I hope you have all had an opportunity for some good relaxing family time and are getting ready for a focused school year in 2016–17. Summer always seems to go by so fast, but I always feel ready to start a new school year. The anticipation and excitement of a new group of students coming together is something I look forward to. As I start my fourth year at Discovery, I continue to focus on two key priorities: 1. Ensure a positive and caring culture so that we can 2. Ensure rigorous learning for every student every day. Sounds easy, right? We all know it is not that simple, but everything we are doing to improve our school is aligned to these two priorities. Please join me this year in working hard to get better at both.

In order to continue our improvement, please allow me to highlight some of our focus areas for this school year:

Vision: Empower students to create a better world! This is why we exist. It is our why as a staff and as a school. Our job is to empower your students to develop the attributes, knowledge, and skills to go into the world and make it better. Empowerment means a couple of things to me. It means as a school staff we intentionally teach and model the attributes of a caring contributing citizen as we teach the content knowledge and skills a student needs to be prepared for the 21st century. It also means the students have to pick up what we are laying down. The students have a responsibility to put the effort into their learning and make choices for themselves that will enable them to demonstrate they are ready to be caring and contributing members of society. Our job (teachers and parents) is to teach them, their job is to learn it and do it. We look forward to working with you to EMPOWER YOUR STUDENTS TO CREATE A BETTER WORLD.

Mission: Engage, Empower, Encourage, it’s a Discovery thing! I would like you to take a moment to reflect on what this means as a school community. ENGAGE- engage students in THEIR learning. EMPOWER- empower ALL students to reach their highest levels of learning. ENCOURAGE- encourage the development of POSITIVE relationships within a learning community that fosters inter-national understanding, compassion, and respect. This is our mission at Discovery Middle School. This is WHAT we will do to achieve the Vision of Empowering Students to Create a Better World. Within the framework of the Middle Years Program, and aligned to the standards of the common core state learning targets, our goal is to ensure every student learns at the highest level they are capable of. It is my strong belief success for any student is met with a mutual partnership between home and school. My priorities are to ensure that on the foundation of a positive culture and climate, we focus on learning at the highest levels for every student. Through the ups and downs of this age, we work together to make sure your child is a successful citizen and learner.


Culture and Climate. One of the biggest challenges of middle school, and one of my big-gest priorities has to do with the kind of culture we have at our school. We are committed to ensuring a positive and caring culture is cultivated for every student, parent, and staff member who walks through our doors. We are a community, and need to respect and support each other in a way that we develop caring citizens ready to move on to high school and beyond. Social media, developmental realities of adolescents, and the need to develop appropriate relationship skills all play a role in the conflict or dra-ma that sometimes arises in middle school. We have all been there, right!? And none of us liked it when we were there. Last year we began a journey of implementing Positive Behavior Intervention Systems (PBIS) to focus our efforts on developing a kind and caring culture. We now have 3 common expectations that will guide the development of behavior and citizenship in our school, and we will be teaching these behaviors very intentionally throughout the year. They are: Be Responsible, Be Respect-ful, and Be Safe WITH EMPATHY. It takes all of us teaching our children appropriate ways to interact with and treat each other. I know we can create the kind of school environment where all stu-dents are respected and feel emotionally safe to come to school and learn. WE are WILDCATS, and WE can do this!

As teachers, we are here to support students in attaining the skills and knowledge they need to be successful 21st century citizens. As parents, you want to support your children to be the best they can be and to find success in whatever they decide they want to do. Working together to engage students in a way that creates opportunity for them to think more deeply, learn more fully, and prepare for life beyond middle school is something we all have to work on as partners. Let’s work together to make sure YOUR child achieves at the highest level possible this school year.

Make a difference for kids,

Mark Cain
Principal, Discovery Middle School