The Friday Forecast

Office of the Principal; Friday February 14, 2014

Quote for the Week!

“It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.”

~ Winston Churchill

The Week Ahead

Black Week Schedule 1-2-3-4-5-6 "No Advisory Wednesday" PASS Writing Preparations

African-American History Month

Monday (17th) - President's Day, District Art Show, Soccer Banquet (7pm)

Tuesday (18th) - District Art Show, G40 Student Council Meeting (7:45am), Department Meetings, Irmo Cluster SIC Meeting (Irmo Elem, 6:30pm)

Wednesday (19th) - District Art Show, Call to Action Assembly (AM Assembly Schedule), District Principal's Meeting/Secondary Planning (1:00-5:00pm)

Thursday (20th) - World Day of Social Justice, Combo Team Visits During Plannings (Jackson, Hutto, McKenzie), District Art Show, Valentines Dance (3:30-5:30pm)

Friday (21st) - District Art Show, Aikido and Brazilian Jui Jitsu Lyceum Workshop (During Lunches)

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Tasks to Complete This Week!

1. Put into action, interventions with your bubble kids and discuss during dept. mtgs.

2. Attend and participate in Tuesday's Department Meetings

3. Attend and help supervise the Call to Action Assembly

4. Update the google drive form when you are teaching or have taught the February Magnet Themed Lesson ~ Global Economy

5. Read and internalize the EL Teacher Readiness indicator document

6. Contact the parents of all students who are failing and inform them of their student's progress. Keep a log of contacts and what was discussed.

7. Attend and help supervise during the Lunch and Learn Aikido and Brazilian Jui Jitsu sessions Friday!

Upcoming Major Events

Combined Inside iAM Recruitment and Course Fair Night

Tuesday, Feb. 25th, 5:30-7:30pm

6051 Wescott Road

Columbia, SC

This is our third in a series of school choice recruitment events for Irmo Middle. The first two were held in concert with district wide recruitment events. This one, we are hosting. In an attempt to prevent multiple night events, we are combining this into one event. All department chairs and program leaders are expected to attend. We will showcase our magnet, spotlight our new courses and partnerships for 14-15 and walk parents through the course registration process for next year. Mr. Hutto and Mrs. McKenzie will be getting with all department heads and program leaders on the logistics.

PASS Writing

Tuesday, March 18th, 8:30am to Wednesday, March 19th, 11:30am

6051 Wescott Rd

Columbia, SC

36 days and counting until we administer this assessment.

Expeditionary Learning Summer Institute at IMS

Friday, June 6th, 8:30am to Tuesday, June 10th, 3:30pm

Irmo Middle School Cafeteria

February Staff Birthdays

Regan Moore, February 6th

Margaret Plexico, February 14th

Alicia Haire, February 20th

Awatif Ismail, February 23rd

Chris Ranly, February 29th

Please join me in wishing these staff members a happy birthday.

Duty Roster for the Week

Duty Roster

Monday - I Group

Tuesday - R Group

Wednesday - M Group

Thursday - O Group

Friday - O Group

Nuts and Bolts

Attendance (Staff)

Now that we have returned from a lengthy break, I want to reiterate how absolutely critical it is that everyone to make every possible effort to be at school every single day. I will join you in the effort to be here daily for our students and staff. I certainly understand that things will come up that will necessitate an absence. When you absolutely have to be out, you are reminded to follow the proper protocols and prepare appropriate plans for your students. Remember, if you are on duty, that needs to be communicated to your substitute. In particular, I want us to watch Monday/Friday absences where we are normally short on subs across the district. When this happens, we will have no choice to start using teachers to cover (unfilled sub classrooms). Make every possible attempt to be here every day.

Class Changes

Thanks so much to everyone for standing at your doors between class changes. We must unite and be consistent with this practice. Remember, not only do we control the classrooms but also the the campus common areas as well. Students should not be loitering, hanging out, visiting vending machines, or using this time to socialize. They only have five minutes to get to class. As it relates to lunch dismissals, make sure you follow the approximate time frames for the beginning and ending of each lunch period.

Making up the Snow Day

Remember, tomorrow, February 17th is a school day. All previously communicated make-up procedures are on hold (per my earlier email from Dr. Bain). As soon as hear anything, I will let everyone know. There is a bill moving through the legislature that would give districts the flexibility to forgive the days missed due to inclement weather. Keep a watchful eye out for the progress of that bill. As soon as I hear anything, I will let everyone know.

PASS Writing Readiness

We have twenty-nine days until the PASS Writing exams. Our goal if for 78% + to score met and exemplary. We will not get there if everyone is not helping to prepare students. Mr. McCloy and Mr. Hutto will be sending out some readiness exercises that I expect everyone to be using to prepare students. In the meantime, here is the link to the SDE site which has a number of resources to help. Below are specific links to sample items, instructions, etc...Everyone can help (especially, the exploratory classes).

March 18 Writing Test, Day 1 extended-response item (writing prompt)

March 19 Writing Test, Day 2 multiple-choice items

March 20-25 Make-up tests may be given on these days.

Student Dress Code

Let's continue to hold our students responsible for the dress code. Everyone continue to inspect what we expect. Report any and all violations to the administrators. Keep in mind that every second students miss class creates an opportunity for us not to meet our goals. Exercise good judgment in sending students out of class for these violations. When needed, call an administrator to your class to handle. Believe it or not, it is a student strategy to wear inappropriate garments...they know we will pull them out of class.

The Magnet Minute

As explained in our most recent faculty meeting, we have fulfilled expectations for year one of both magnet implementation and exploration of Expeditionary Learning. In fact, we have exceeded expectations! Not only have we successfully screamed our theme around campus and in the community, launched a full-scale public relations campaign to recruit new families and reimage our school, and engaged in multiple professional development experiences both on and off campus in order to explore EL design principles and protocols - we also have begun implementing new instructional practices, committing to new professional development formats and protocols, and infusing magnet themed lessons and school wide events. Thus, we are already moving into the work of year two - putting us at the front of the pack!

As we move forward, please take a moment to review the attached readiness indicators. Remember: these indicators do not express expectations for year one work. Rather, they outline the philosophical beliefs of teachers who work in EL schools. They provide for us a detailed explanation of what teaching and learning will look like in our school over the course of the next 3 to 5 years. Teachers who work at Irmo Middle School, an Expeditionary Learning school, will eventually engage in and excel in all of the indicators described. However, remember that this transformation is slow, and that it will be supported by professional development experiences - and by the help and support of colleagues and administrators. For now, simply read over the indicators in order to fully understand what it means to be an Expeditionary Learning teacher. And while reading, the only question to ponder is this: are you ready?

The survey, which is based on these readiness indicators, will be administered within the next few weeks. Mr. Jackson, Mr. Hutto, and Mrs. McKenzie will be around for informal Q/A sessions with each data team. Please use this opportunity to ask any questions about the readiness indicators, what they mean, and what teaching and learning will look like in an EL school over the next few years. Uncertainty yields anxiety, and knowledge is power - so, please, ask questions!

The Guidance Corner

Registration Time for 2014-15 Exploratory Courses

It is time for all current 7th Grade Students to Register for Exploratory Courses for next school year. During Enrichment on February 25, students will be presented with a small presentation of their options for the 2014-15 school year.

Teachers will receive the presentation to show as well as registration forms and course booklets for each student. It is important for all 7th grade students to receive this information, and take the forms and booklet home for parents on February 25. Please make sure to plan for this opportunity for your students.

Full details and additional information will be available soon.

Closing Thoughts

This week's Friday Forecast contains our calendar to guide our week ahead and events on the horizon. As we continue our Feburary FOCUS , we are starting the descent towards PASS testing. Do you know how many days are left until we administer PASS Writing? Are you communicating that you your students daily? What are you doing in your class to help students get ready? As you begin your readiness tasks and plans, I want you to remember that:


Once upon a time, a flock of doves under the leadership of their king were flying in search of food

Finally, the littlest bird, who brought in the rear, gave a squawk. She had just spotted some grains of rice, scattered under a banyan tree. Gladly, the flock alighted and set to feed with a will. Suddenly, a weight fell over them. Looking up they were aghast to find that they were trapped in a fine cloth net. “Oh, dear,” cried the littlest one. “We are doomed.” The doves were doubly scared when they saw a hunter approaching them, carrying a huge club. The king counselled his flock to remain calm, and gave them a brilliant plan. “Let us each hold a bit of the net with our beaks and fly away with it. Together, we will be able to bear the weight of the net.” The hunter had almost reached them when to his astonishment the net and the birds suddenly lifted up and were gone out of his reach. Yelling with shock, he chased them but the birds went higher and higher and were soon a distant blur. The birds alighted near a temple, where the king’s friend, a mouse, lived. The dove king asked the mouse to gnaw at the net with his strong teeth so that they could get out. Willingly, the mouse set to work and very soon the birds were all free. Gladly, they thanked the mouse and their noble king before flying away together, strong in their unity.

Takeaway: No matter what difficulties we may go through in our family, at work, with friends, etc... we can triumph over it if we remain united and face the problem together.

It is my hope that the calendar entries and reminders will allow you to plan accordingly and carry out your responsibilities in an exemplary fashion.

Let's stand by each other and remain #IrmoSTRONG!

Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S., Principal

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