Montevideo Middle School

Home of the Maroons

TIPS FOR PARENTS

My son keeps telling me he doesn’t have any homework and I’m having trouble believing him. What should I do​?

Check the homework hotline 6th Grade, 7th Grade, or 8th Grade and also log in to Powerschool/ Parent Connect to check on grades.

My child got a horrible grade on a test or project, should I just email the teacher about it?

Please speak with your child first. We want to help kids take ownership of their own education. Maybe your child didn’t study and prepare enough. Maybe they need to stay after for tutoring. Maybe they didn’t turn the project in. After speaking with your child about the low grade, have your child speak to the teacher about the grade. After you have spoken to your child and your child has spoken to his or her teacher, if there are still questions, please give the teacher a call (289-3401) and allow 24 hours for a return call.

My daughter says her soul is shriveling up because she does not have a cell phone and she can’t live without one. Now that she is in middle school, does she HAVE to have one?

No. We grew up without phones and did fine. Your child does not HAVE to have a phone. Before you give your child a phone, please consider how responsible he or she is, not only in keeping track of and taking care of the phone, but also in how he or she will behave on social media. I have a son who would lose his shoes if they weren’t attached to his feet. I will not be buying him a cell phone anytime soon. We need your help! If you are not interested in taking the time to closely monitor your child’s behavior online, please do not give them a phone! It’s like giving them the keys to your car and saying, “Have fun learning to drive!”

Someone at school called me, should I call the school back before checking my voicemail?

Please check your voicemail before calling us back. Please do not call the school and say, “Ummm… yeah… someone there called me.” We have approximately 100 adults who work in our building and it is extremely difficult for us to try and track down who may have called you. If the person who calls did not leave a voicemail, it was probably your child or not very important.

My son got a “broken pillar” from one of his teachers and a day of lunch detention from another teacher. Should I be expecting a call home?​

Not necessarily, but that doesn’t mean you can’t call us and it doesn’t mean a phone call might not be coming soon! A broken pillar is given for a minor infraction: minor disruption, tardy, etc. Lunch detention is also for minor things. An equivalent consequence would be missing a day of recess in elementary school. If we see a concerning pattern developing, we’ll contact you. If your son decides to throw his half eaten banana across the cafeteria to his “potassium deficient” friend and ends up getting some lunch detention, we probably aren’t going to call you. If he tries to flush 7 bananas down the toilet and causes a plumbing catastrophe, we’ll call you and we’ll have him clean it up.

My daughter said her after school FFA meeting got moved to Thursday instead of Friday, how do I know for sure?​

Go to our homepage ​http://mms.rockingham.k12.va.us/​, scroll down and click on “Events & Announcements" to access the daily announcements that kids hear every morning. Our website is a very helpful source of information that we try and keep current. Additionally, we send out a weekly email with important parent information about upcoming events and dates and we have a school Facebook page. If you can’t find the answer to your question, please contact the specific teacher in charge or call the main office. If it starts to snow, they call for snow but it hasn’t started, looks like it might snow, or there is already 4 inches in Bergton, please don’t call the school. We find out about 5 minutes before you do that school is closing early. Instead, make sure you have signed up for School Messenger notifications so you can receive the text alert AND have a plan with your child in case school does close early.

A kid keeps teasing and calling my child names. Isn’t this considered bullying? What should I do?​

Great questions! By definition, bullying involves three things: an intent to do harm, a repeated behavior, and an imbalance of power. First, thank your child for telling you about this situation and encourage this clear, open line of communication between the two of you! We want kids to share with their parents what is going on in school and to seek guidance from the people who love and know them best: you! Do not tell them to ignore it! Research says that ignoring bullying behavior can oftentimes make the situation worse. Instead, it says that the target needs to find a way to shift the balance of power with the offender through humor or other means. Two, ask your child how they have responded in the past and if they have made it clear that what the other student is saying is upsetting and not kind. In middle school, we have plenty of times when one student thinks, “I’m just kidding around” and another student is getting upset by what is being said but they haven’t made that clear. Basically, is the other child intending to do harm? Third, get the specifics. How long has this been going on (repeated behavior)? Does this kid do the same thing to other kids or just to you? Has your child said mean and hurtful things to the other student? Four, make a plan that is specific for your child and this situation. Has your child made it clear to the other student that it is upsetting, unwelcome, and they want the behavior to stop but the other student continues anyway? If so, it is time for adult intervention! On the other hand, if your child has not made it clear that they want the behavior to stop, encourage them to do that first and then follow up to see how it went. If it continues, it is time for adult intervention! You can either encourage your child to talk to a trusted adult at school (teacher, coach, counselor, administrator); they can simply drop a note in the “lend a hand locker” and we’ll take it from there; or you can call us. We will find a way to speak privately with your child about what is going on, take corrective action with the other student involved, and then establish a system with your child to follow up and ensure the bullying does not continue.

My son forgot his homework at home, should I race to school and bail him out?​

Another great question! As adults, no one bails us out and “it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” (Frederick Douglass). Maybe you want to establish a “one bail out a year” policy at home. Maybe no bailouts in your family. Maybe you feel like that is your job as a parent. In the 11 years I’ve been here, what I’ve seen is the more a parent bails out their child, the more it continues and the behavior doesn’t change. Maybe your son gets a zero on his homework and ends up getting a lower grade for the quarter. Harvard will still accept him! Maybe you can help him develop a system where he double-checks his backpack the night before to make sure all of his homework is in it and then puts his backpack to block the front door so he can’t leave the house without stumbling over it. This works at my house and is part of our master plan to keep our sons from living in our basement well into their 30s.

My daughter keeps talking about “classroom circles” and I saw these “restorative practices” posters around the school. What’s the deal with all of this touchy-feely stuff?

At Montevideo, we want to build a community of thoughtful and aggressively kind kids who care about each other and, when conflict happens, they have an opportunity to learn from their mistake, repair the harm they caused, and to develop empathy for those around them. We do this through “classroom circles” in which kids take 4-8 minutes to discuss certain things that can be content-related (What is being a good citizen look like? What do you think about our current classroom novel?) to non-content related (What are your goals for this school year?). We also try to teach empathy through other restorative practices when there is conflict or harm has been done. We try to focus more on the relationship that was damaged and the harm that was caused than the rule that was broken.

Snapchat and Facebook and Twitter…Oh, my!! Your child, and at least one other child, have spent the weekend snapchatting each other, and like horseplay gone bad, the snaps/tweets/posts have evolved into name calling and pitting one friend against others. Your child is upset about it on Monday morning. How do you, as administrators, plan to handle this?

Social media is a mixed bag. On one hand, kids can connect about upcoming events (sports, dances, sleepovers, etc.) in a fun way; on the other hand, kids (and sometimes adults), can use social media to hide behind a screen and say things they wouldn’t otherwise say in person. The division stance is that we are not likely to intervene unless it causes an adequate disruption in the child’s education. So this is where we need you. If you find out about a situation resulting from social media misuse, before calling the school, consider this an opportunity to connect with your child and find out about their friend choices, how they are using social media, if their settings are private, and if their own content is appropriate. You should have access to all of their social media. The school should only be contacted if there is concern about the safety and well-being of the child (yours or another). Outside of school, this is a matter between families. We send frequent tips for navigating the social media world with your child through our weekly parent updates, so please read those. In the meantime, check out the following for some great ideas and guidance: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/social-media