E-Blasts from the Principal

Week of July 23rd

Good Afternoon Stevenson Saints and Families,

This is the first Eblast of many to come as we near the start of the school year. I wanted to be sure everyone had the important dates to plan for as we approach August and the new school year. I am so excited to meet all of you and to see our returning students, as they blossomed into 8th graders over the summer months. For our new families, you will find communication and partnerships with our families is a top priority to our team, and I make every effort possible to help you stay informed, feel connected, and share in your child's school experience. In addition to weekly eblasts, I will also do robocalls for important deadlines, report cards, half days and more. As the parent of two teens and Wayne/Westland students myself, I try to provide for my students and families what I hope for as a parent and for my own children. With that being said, here is some important information I think everyone should read to be fully prepared for our August start:

EVERYONE MUST COMPLETE OR UPDATE YOUR ONLINE REGISTRATION FOR EACH CHILD IN WAYNE/WESTLAND REGARDLESS IF YOU ARE NEW OR HAVE A CURRENT/CONTINUING STUDENT!!! There will be NO schedule for your child at schedule pick up if you haven't completed or updated your online registration! I do not want any family or student disappointed or frustrated at schedule pickup if he/she does not have a schedule due to NOT completing/updating the online registration. If you do not have the technology at home, our board offices on Marquette rd. (between Newburgh and Wayne rd.) have computers available for this purpose. As a parent, I recently completed my updates, for my 2 sons, and it truly took me less than 5 minutes. The process has been streamlined significantly! You simply log in to your parent connect account (the one in which you usually monitor grades, missing assignments, attendance, etc. throughout the years). When in, your child/children will appear on the screen. Near the top, in bright red, it says “back to school registration”. Click on this bright red link. Then you will see a list of items that will say incomplete next to them and a “register” button above each list. Simply click on each register button, review/update or complete the forms and it will take you back to the original page where you can do the same with each register button. The list of items, which once said incomplete, will now say “complete” next them. When they all say complete, you are all set!!! Personally, I felt like there should be a save button or something to lock in my changes (I’m one of those people who like closure..lol), but there isn’t, so you truly are simply done when you see the completes next to each item. This online system allows you to apply for free/reduced lunch, acknowledge forms that have previously been sent in hard copy form, and update contact and emergency contact information. F

or new students to the district, you will receive an email with your log in information in August, so you can complete your registration.  Anyone who does not have or know your parent connect log in information, please contact the Office of Academic Excellence at 734-419-2083 at the district offices. The Stevenson offices are closed for most of the summer, so leaving a message there will not result in a return phone call until later in August.

IMPORTANT DATES TO PUT IN YOUR CALENDAR:

Online registration opened on June 25th. Everyone must complete this!

Schedule pickup at Stevenson on August 22nd & 23rd from 9am to 3pm. Walk in anytime, no appt or scheduled time for grades/students needed. We make every attempt to avoid long lines and make it as enjoyable and convenient as possible for our families!!!! You will get your student's schedule and information about services and items for the new school year. It will also be another opportunity to explore the building. I strongly suggest you plan some time to walk around, find your student's classroom locations, and try your locker combination during this visit. The entire student body and families will be at open house, along with staff, so it is very crowded that night. These two schedule pick up days will be quieter and have much smaller crowds since people may come at any time over the two days. It is also a nice time to meet your counselor, principals, and find things like the cafeteria, bathrooms, best routes to take from class to class, offices, library, and so on. You are welcome to come back as many times as you would like over the two days to “practice” finding things/classes and to open your lockers. Counseling staff will be present to help with any scheduling issues, personal concerns we should be made aware of, and to simply meet you and your child. Up until now, your child has not had a counselor assigned to advise and care for them, so please be sure to meet your assigned counselor, so your child understands they have many people at Stevenson to support him/her…...and you! You will also see my office and our Assistant Principal’s office, Mr. Trombka, is always wide open to the main hallway for our students and families. Please feel free to drop in and meet us as well.

I always get asked….”what if we can’t make the schedule pick up days?” No worries! You will be able to pick up your student’s schedule on open house night or the first day of school.

Open house

Open house is Tuesday August 28th from 5:30 to 7pm. Teachers and staff will be here to meet, explore the school, find your classrooms, locate your locker and try out your combination. Since there are only two dates before school begins that teachers report, all schools in our district are trying to set their open house dates at this time. I know this can be very frustrating for families with students at multiple schools. Please know, this is an informal evening at Stevenson. There is no presentation or assembly that you will miss if you don’t attend or come for only a short time. It is truly no different than our schedule pick up days with the exception of the teachers being present to meet. I encourage you to use our schedule pick up days to explore, map your route for classes, find important locations (like bathrooms), and locate and try out your locker. Make it so you only need to meet your 7 teachers on open house night. This will allow you to have more time to go to the other open house nights in the district if needed. In addition, the biggest crowds are usually right at the start of the event (5:30pm). A suggestion is to arrive later in the event to meet your teachers. The event ends at 7pm. This is also the eve before our first day of school, so we want it to be as stress free and enjoyable as possible for you and your student.

First Day of School

Wednesday August 29th is the first day of school!!!!!! We have a full day of instruction on both Wednesday and Thursday!!!!! 7:50am to 2:40pm.

Friday, August 31st and Monday, Sept. 3rd - NO SCHOOL for the Labor Day weekend!

Bright Futures & Champions

Here is some very exciting news, especially for those families who have utilized the Bright Futures after-school program in previous years. Bright Futures is back at Stevenson!!!!! We lost this great program for the last school year due to a cut in grant funding, but we have been able to get it back for the 2018-2019 school year!!! In addition, we have also continued our partnership with the Champions program to provide after-school services for our families this year at SMS!!!!!! We couldn't be more excited about this great news and services for our students and families! You may be wondering why we are offering two different after-school programs at one location. Although Champions has a cost associated with enrollment, the program is open year round and during sessions when school is closed for several days (spring break, etc) and during half days of school. They do offer financial assistance and scholarships to help with the cost if interested. Bright Futures is free to families, however, they do not offer care on Fridays, during breaks, and possibly, some half days. This program does not begin until October as well. Both are wonderful programs! I have attached some flyers from the Champions coordinator. I will do the same when I get more information from Bright Futures later in the summer or start of the school year.

Conclusion

I will be sending another eblast closer to the start of school with details and information about the first day of school, expectations, and reminders. For those who like to get a jump start on "back to school" shopping, middle school is different than elementary in many ways. We do allow students to carry a backpack (any kind that can store comfortable under their seats) throughout the day. We are a fully air conditioned building, so a light zip up sweatshirt or hoodie may help with layering. Students also have 7 class periods versus one. Separate notebooks, paper, or folders may be helpful. Please work on a system of organization with your child over the summer. This skill seems to be the one middle schoolers struggle with the most and the one that seems to affect his/her grades the most with missing assignments and such. Please be sure it is a system that works for THEM, which may make no sense to you. Remember, it is a system for them when you’re not there. My one son’s system mirrored one I would use, 7 classes, 7 different folders, each in a different color with a matching notebook of paper…...seems reasonable to me! Worked great for him...and me! Then…..my other son came to Stevenson. I bought the same 7 folders and notebooks, knowing he wasn’t as organized as my other. Nope...didn’t work. Papers everywhere, crammed at the bottom of his backpack, used the same folder for math and Spanish, didn’t use the blue Spanish folder for anything…….my OCD brain was in a frenzy looking in his backpack!!!! Yet, he was a straight A student and seemed to know exactly where everything was despite the crumbled papers and insanely messy backpack. I finally took him to the store and asked him what he wanted. I then bought him one big binder, that zipped up. For those from the 80s, like myself, we would know this as a Trapper Keeper…... sorry for aging us! Although it was still “messy” inside the binder, it kept his “Organized Chaos” contained to one location versus 7. This was the organization system that worked for him! Remember, their brains work differently than ours!

Every month, I will also be sending a newsletter that simply gives you insight on your child at the middle school or “tween” age. I’ve learned so much, since being at the middle school, about this complicated and confusing age. You WILL see changes in your child, in many ways, that are unexpected and “out of the norm”. Don’t be alarmed, there are actually changes happening cognitively, emotionally, and physically. We often attribute these changes to “hormones and puberty”, but many do not realize, the brain grows rapidly at two times in a child’s life: toddler years and middle school. Believe it or not, you may see similarities in these ages, now that you know this. For example: your child may seem “sassier” and “more argumentative/defiant”....remind you of a 2 or 3 year old? The similarities are actually remarkable. Their brains are moving so quickly that they sometimes don’t process things before they say or do them, hence, appearing to do and say very impulsive things and demonstrate “immature” behaviors and choices. These may cause you to think/say, “What were you thinking?” as the choice will seem so irrational and obviously poor to you. They may struggle to answer you as they truly aren’t sure why they said or did it either due to their brain development at this age. All in all, hang on families and parents, you will make it through these two years and so will your child. Don’t be too hard on yourselves as you question everything you’re doing to explain this new child before you. You will also see a significant difference between 7th and 8th grade. Their brains are at two completely different developmental stages. After 8th grade, they will begin to return to the “child” you know, although now a young adult. If you want some interesting reading, spend some time on the computer looking up middle school brains and development. It truly is fascinating! I will send the first newsletter in August. This will be different than the weekly eblasts I send, as these address our daily lives at Stevenson. The newsletter will be more about their development, general “tween” topics they and you may be encountering for the first time (social media concerns, time management, etc). I hope you enjoy the insight!

I truly hope everyone has a wonderful and safe summer, and I will see you in August!!!!!

Sheri Grove
Principal
Stevenson Middle School