News from AMS

January 13, 2023

Thinking About the Dangers of Teen Drug and Alcohol Use

Did you know:

· That 85% of people who go to prisons/jails are there because of some connection to drugs and alcohol? WOW!

· That most people who struggle with the disease of substance abuse started with something very small, like beer, wine, tobacco or marijuana?

· That the vaping company known as Juul is owned by Marlboro, and their main goal with inventing vapes was to get more people addicted to nicotine so as to make more money?

· That when students vape, they are putting harmful chemicals into their lungs and brain and that vaping causes irreversible lung damage?

· That vaping, tobacco, drug and alcohol use are especially harmful to teens because their brains are not fully formed until they are 25 years old?

These are just a sampling of the important lessons our 7th and 8th grade students learned this week from Sheriff Lew Evangelidis’ Face 2 Face Program. The Sheriff spoke to our 7th graders on Tuesday and our 8th graders on Thursday, and I was very proud of how respectful and attentive the students were. I guess it doesn’t hurt that Sheriff Evangelidis is 6’7” tall – so naturally, I introduced him as my long-lost twin brother.

I have many things that I can improve on as a person and a principal, but one of my strengths is self-awareness. I know who I am and how I got here. So, I will not be a hypocrite and come across as “preaching” either to my students or to you. I “partied” more than I should have in high school, college and my early 20’s. I probably unknowingly did some damage to my not yet fully developed adolescent brain (Insert joke here about "How this explains so much!"). I also feel fortunate that, unlike others in my family, I did not develop any addictions. Maybe my story is in some ways similar to yours.

The thing is, for all the differences we hear about with today’s kids, they are going to experience the same peer pressure to try drugs and alcohol that we did. That will never change. That’s why I think it’s important for us to provide them with all the information about what succumbing to that peer pressure could mean for them in their lives. We won’t be there when the pressure occurs, but we can at least try to ensure that they are as prepared as possible to make the right choice.

If you ever have questions or concerns about any of these issues affecting your child, please know that we are here as a resource. We definitely don’t have all the answers, but when we can’t help, we will put you in touch with people who can.

Sheriff Evangelidis Addresses Our 8th Graders

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Semester Classes Changing

Next week is the last week of the first Semester - it is the halfway point of the year. That means that on the week of January 23, Semester classes will be changing for all students. Every grade has one semester class:

Grade 6 - Literacy and Computer Technology

Grade 7 - Literacy and STEM

Grade 8 - Technology Education and STEM

Whichever one your child currently has, he/she will have the other one for the remainder of the year.

By January 30, your child's semester class grade will be finalized in Power School. If you have any questions about this (and I admit it can be confusing to keep the whole year, semester and trimester classes straight), please contact your child's guidance counselor. Contact Information is below.

Important Dates

January 16 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (No School)

Week of January 23 - Semester Class Changes

February 2 - National Junior Honor Society Induction (5:30 p.m.)

February 6 - Winter Sports Team Pictures

February 10 - Valentine's Dance (Times TBA)

February 20-24 - February Vacation

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Important Reminders

Drop off and Pick Up

This is just another reminder that drop off and pick up of students at the Life Care Center, The Masonic Lodge or any other non-school property is prohibited.

This has gotten much, much better, and I thank everyone for following the proper procedure even when it is inconvenient to do so.

Dismissing Students

This is another reminder that all dismissals must go through the nurse's office if health related or the office if non-health related.

If your child texts you to dismiss him/her, please have him/her go to the nurse or the office first to report the problem. An adult from the school will then get in touch with you. This is the safest way to do this as we need to know where our students are at all times.

This is habit we need our kids to develop, and we can only do that if we all work together.

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Obviously, it is very important that student’s attend school as often as possible. Despite our ability to access assignments and other important information from iPads and other tech devices, there is no substitute for live instruction provided by a professional teacher.

The past few years have given everyone reason to be more cautious when it comes to keeping their kids at home. We have even been consistently requesting that students remain at home when they have any kind of symptoms of illness. For the most part, our AMS families have exercised excellent judgment when it comes to this.

What I want to remind everyone today is that it is critically important that you let us know when you decide to keep your son/daughter home. We need to know that he/she is safe and accounted for. Please be sure to let us know either through Zipp Slip, email to the nurse or secretaries or a phone call to the office when you are keeping your child home for the day.

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AMS Book Wars!

The ELA Department is sponsoring another reading incentive program, and as you may already know, this year's theme is Book Wars.

Students receive prizes for reading books, and there will be prizes as well for the homeroom and team that reads the most.

There is also the underlying students vs. staff reading competition, which right now is a blowout in favor of the students.

Three Things We Can Always Do to Reduce Stress for Our Kids

1. Prioritize our kids being good people first - even over academics, sports, arts, etc.

2. Monitor Social Media - Try to keep them out of the worst drama and away from toxic people

3. Model calm and resilience - "We got this...we will figure it out...we will be ok, let's make a plan, etc."

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May the Force Be with You!