Welcome!

The purpose of this blog is to share insights into educational issues affecting Jerome Middle School. These could be new teaching strategies; new ways of grading; new ways of holding students accountable; new ways of getting students involved in their learning; or even new ways of getting parents more involved in the events at school. I hope that these posts will help answer some questions about happenings at JMS!

Monday, November 12, 2012

JMS October Students of the Month



The motto of Jerome Middle School is "Effort, Pride, and Respect."  Effort - Do your best at all times; be there and be ready!  Pride - Your actions say who you are! Respect - Give it to get it!  Each month, our teams choose two students who are not only following our motto, they are living our motto.  

Examples of what our October Students of the Month do to "live" our motto are:  Go above and beyond in academics; helpful to both teachers and students; work hard to always give best effort and expect to achieve a high level of success; expect a lot of themselves; quiet and respectful; willing and ready to help others; meticulous in work and always show best effort; sincere; conscientious and friendly with teachers and peers; industrious and likeable; always participate in class; and complete assignments to a high standard.

Students of the Month for October are:  Katie Gambles, Jarrett Kimball, Sarah Stevenson, Kaydem Yost, Camas Robinson, Ruben Ramirez, Gage Burnham, Yovana Chavez, John Dunnagan, Briseida Figueroa Pulido, Delia Barragan, and Leo Peterson.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

JMS Students of the Month - September


The motto of Jerome Middle School is "Effort, Pride, and Respect."  Effort - Do your best at all times; be there and be ready!  Pride - Your actions say who you are! Respect - Give it to get it!  Each month, our teams choose two students who are not only following our motto, they are living our motto.  Examples of what these students do to "live" our motto are:  Come with a positive attitude everyday, participate in class, willing to help others, and are very respectful and kind to both teachers and peers.  These students don't even need to be asked to help someone!  They demonstrate excellent citizenship.

Students of the Month for September are:  Karlie Embretson, Agustin Lopez, Helen Diaz Gomez, Eulogio Figueroa, Lori Agueda, Colten Craig, Jacqueline Martinez, Jacob Crofts, Rory Olsen, Mia Garcia, Carlos Noriega, Brooklyn Jackson, and Isabel Dolcini.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Brain

6th Grade Science classes have begun to look like laboratories of Mad Scientists. The shelves are covered with brains of multiple shapes and sizes. There are cake brains, brain posters, brain Jello, clay brains, and even cookie brains. Students completed the brains as part of demonstrating their learning of the different parts and functions of the brain. One student was creative in his presentation of learning - he wrote and performed a song all about the brain. Here is a short video clip of the song, and a picture of the music.

 video

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What describes a JMS Student?

We are back in the swing of things at Jerome Middle School. We have had our "opening assemblies" where students listen to lists of expectations; teachers have set up classroom procedures; and, students are getting used to new classes, and new lockers. But, what does it really mean to be a student at Jerome Middle School? I had all of our advisory teachers ask that question of our students. The students brainstormed a list of words and phrases that described what being a JMS student is all about. Advisory teachers sent me the lists, which I compiled into a long list of single descriptive words. Here is what the students came up with:
This "jumble" of words is called a "word cloud." The concept of the word cloud genrator is this: it takes a list of words and "clouds" them based upon the frequency. The words that show up more often are larger than those who show up once or twice. You will see that "Effort, Pride, and Respect" are three of the largest words - the motto of our school. I discuss these three words - what they mean, and what they LOOK like with students at the beginning of each year. It warmed my heart to see that they had the largest frequency of words that students used. This word cloud now hangs in all of our classrooms, in the locker-rooms, in the library, and even in our cafetorium. As students go through their day at JMS, they know what it means to be a JMS student - their own expectations. It's going to be a great year!

Wal-Mart Donates $1000.00 to Jerome Middle School Teachers

The Staff of Jerome Middle School received a nice surprise on Friday, September 9. Robert Parsons, Manager of the Jerome Wal-Mart, came to a staff meeting and awarded 10 $100.00 Wal-Mart gift cards. This wonderful surprise was made possible through Wal-Mart Teacher Rewards program. The following JMS teachers were recipients of the program sponsored by the Wal-Mart Foundation: Maggie Stump, 8th Grade Reading Gayla Otto, 8th Grade Language Arts Jay Ostler, 8th Grade Science Christi Thornsberry, 7th Grade Reading Afton Martin, 7th Grade Math Sean Spagnolo, 8th Grade Math Lori Cottle, Art Connie Nicholson, 7th Grade Language Arts Jeff Shewmaker, 6th Grade Science Darren Olsen, 8th Grade World History These teachers were chosen through a random drawing. Congratulations to each of these teachers, and thank you to the Jerome Wal-Mart for supporting the staff of Jerome Middle School!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Literacy and Laughter - A Good Combo for Parent Involvement!

On Tuesday, March 8th, Jerome Middle School held its first official "Family Literacy Night." The goal of the evening was to get parents in to the school to interact with their children in a different way than the normal Parent Teacher Conference setting. I would say that for our first event, it was a success!

Half of our teaching staff planned the events for the evening, while I was in charge of the "refreshments." In addition to literacy activities, our Choir director held a dress rehearsal of the upcoming school musical and our Art teacher displayed "Art of the Trimester." At the end of the evening, our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade bands also performed a concert in the gym. Quite the packed evening!

Remember the Field of Dreams saying - "If you build it, they will come."? Well, if you feed them hot dogs, chips, a cookie, and water, they will come too! I am happy to report that we served close to 280 hot dogs that evening! We even had some students show up without parents - to eat and enjoy interacting with their teachers in a different way.

We had multiple literacy activities throughout the building. To entice students and parents to head down and try some of the activities out, we gave away "raffle" tickets for participation. Five students received Barnes and Noble gift cards from those tickets. The literacy activities included the following:

1. A Book Swap - weeks before the 8th, students began bringing in books to trade - they got a ticket for each book they brought. During Family Literacy Night, students/parents brought their tickets in to "buy" new books with. This was probably one of the most popular activities of the evening.

2. Game Rooms - Two rooms included board games - some well known like Scrabble - others not as well known, but still as fun!

3. Funglish - a game in which players had to use idioms to have other players guess what word or saying they had.

4. Spin a Yarn - participants got a story starter, and then had to "spin" a story until they ran out of yarn. Laughter could be heard down the hall from this room.

5. Are you Smarter than a Middle Schooler? - This game utilized Mouse Mischief, a PowerPoint add-on, that allowed multiple players. Most of the questions dealt with grammar, the writing process, and other language based knowledge MS students use on a daily basis. It was fun seeing parents and students grappling with the questions.

The evening lasted two hours or so, and we had great feedback from staff and parents alike. Staff really enjoyed watching students interact with their parents in non-stressful activities. They were able to see a different side of their students. In fact, I would say that students were able to see a different side of their teachers as well. The teachers were laughing and having as much fun as the parents and students.

We also got great feedback from parents and students too. Parents appreciated the time and effort that was put into Literacy night. They enjoyed the variety of activities - including the art, music, and dinner. They also saw this as something special just for them - something different just conferences. Students enjoyed the technology game (Mouse Mischeif), watching parts of the musical dress rehearsal, and the hot dogs. Everyone's favorite was the book swap.

As I reflect on the evening, the best part was seeing the smiles on the faces of parents, students, and staff. All involved were having a great time, and learning a little about literacy at the same time. I look forward to our next Family Night in April!

Monday, December 6, 2010

“Donuts and Discussion” to begin monthly at JMS

As part of my involvement with the "Connected Principals" group (a collaboration between principals from around the globe), I have been able to participate in three Live Elluminate sessions - two in which I was fortunate enough to be one of the speakers.

The October session dealt with Parental Involvement - getting parents more involved in the learning process of their children. One of the ideas that I gleaned from the session was having informal meetings open to any parent that would like to attend. One of my goals for the year is increasing parent activities at Jerome Middle School. It was during this session, and then at a School Improvement Team meeting that "Donuts and Discussion" was hatched.

So, the first monthly open meeting for parents entitled “Donuts and Discussion” will be held Thursday, December 9 at 8:15 – 9:00. The purpose of these monthly meetings is to invite parents to come and discuss programs at JMS. The agenda will be “open” so that parents have the opportunity to have conversation with JMS administration. We look forward to spending time with parents sharing successes, goals, concerns, and plans for students at JMS.

I plan to write an additional post after our first meeting to reflect. Thanks to all my colleagues at "Connected Principals" that inspired me to move forward with ACTION towards getting parents more involved.