The Friday Forecast

Office of the Principal; Friday January 3, 2014

Quote for the Week!

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
― Stephen Covey

The Week Ahead

Black Week Schedule 1-2-3-4-5-6

Monday (6th) - Winter MAP Testing, Guidance IGP's, C-Team Basketball (Away), Instructional Materials Caravan (Saluda Shoals)

Tuesday (7th) - Winter MAP Testing, Guidance IGP's, G40 (Student Government Meeting (7:45am - SDR), Show HS Videos in Enrichment Classes, Admin Team Meeting (10:30am), PD Workshop (3:50pm, Cafeteria), C-Team Wrestling (Away)

Wednesday (8th) - Winter MAP Testing, Guidance IGP's, Show HS Videos in Enrichment Classes, Middle School Technology Task Force (Curriculum Sub Committee Meeting)

Thursday (9th) - Winter MAP Testing, District Counselors Meeting (SDR), Combo Meetings (Hutto and Jackson Attending), Magnet Choice Fair CRMS 5-6:30 , C-Team Basketball (Away) vs. Fulmer Middle

Friday (10th) - Winter MAP Testing, Guidance IGP's

Saturday (11th) - C-Team Wrestling (Away) vs. Lugoff-Elgin

Upcoming Major Events

District Five High School Magnet Videos

D5 School Choice Fair

Thursday, Jan. 9th, 5-6:30pm

CrossRoads Middle School

This is the second District Five choice fair event to showcase all magnet programs in the district.

Semester Exams

Tuesday, Jan. 14th, 8am to Friday, Jan. 17th, 10am

6051 Wescott Road

Columbia, SC

Semester Classes

Jan. 14th . . . . . . . . . . . .World Languages, Fine Arts

Jan. 15th . . . . . . . . . . . . World Languages, Fine Arts

Jan. 16th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Other Exploratories

Jan. 17th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Other Exploratories

Jan. 18th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Make-up Day

Data Team Fishbowl Exercises (January 29th & February 7th)

Wednesday, Jan. 29th, 10:30am-12:30pm

Irmo Middle School

We are rapidly approaching our Data Team FishBowl visits from Dave Nagel and Steve Ventura. We will be visited on January 29th and February 7th. All teachers will receive handouts during Tuesday's PD Workshop to help us prepare to shine. Additionally, We (Hutto and Jackson) will be visiting Data Teams Thursday (1/9/14) to answer any questions and assist with the preparations for these visits.

Readiness Materials - Important Information!!!

Janaury Staff Birthdays

Windy Jones, January 2nd

Ashley Evans, January 3rd

Ashley Yandle, January 4th

Scott Thur, January 6th

Tyson Ray, January 8th

Diane Falsetti, January 9th

Carla Dupree, January 19th

Laurie Dobbe, January 20th

Deborah Boehler, January 28th

Frances Counts, January 28th

Drema Watts, January 28th

Bryan Winfree, January 28th

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

Nuts and Bolts

After-School Academic Assistance

We are closing in on the end of the first semester and we have many students who are not reaching their full potential. I am asking every teacher to utilize afternoon academic assistance as an intervention with students. You should be using these opportunities to intervene, re-teach, re-test, and make sure students are experiencing success in all of their classes.

Please contact parents of students who are experiencing failure and utilize the PM academic assistance with those students. Remember we have busses running Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday after-school so transportation should not be an issue. Many of you already stay after school to work with students. I want to encourage everyone to identify a day during the week where, if students need assistance, they can stay after-school to work with you and also have transportation home.


Our new "app" has been released. Every staff member is asked to download the app on their school and personal devices. Here are the links:

1. iTunes

2. Google Play

In your classes, alert the students to the "new" app as well and ask them to download it. We will begin using the features in the app to communicate to the students, parents, teachers, staff, and the community. Kudos to Mrs. Fuseler on a job well done!

Attendance (Student)

Take your attendance "daily" during every class period. Any abnormalities, please notify Mrs. Wilds. If you have students who are accumulating excessive absences, please notify your administrator so we can begin to take the necessary actions. I am still seeing instances where teachers are asking for students to be excused late to class because of mismanaging instructional time. No teacher's class takes priority over another. Everyone's subject area is important. Let's refrain from infringing on each other's time and make certain that you don't run over and cause a student to be late to another teacher's class.

Attendance (Staff)

Now that we have returned from a length 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.

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. Refrain from sending students to lunch early. Doing so causes a lot of congestion in the cafeteria and invites chaos and understaffed supervision ratios.

Classroom Mosaic

Earlier last fall, I informed all instructional personnel that the CM Observation Template for secondary schools would be revised. We have completed that process and will begin using the revised template January 22nd. In the mean time, I will be pushing out the entire template (here is an early look) and discussing it with everyone so you are completely aware of the look-fors.

Duty Roster

Monday - I Group

Tuesday - R Group

Wednesday - M Group

Thursday - O Group

Friday - R Group

Make sure you are at your post prior to 7:45 am. The students start moving at 7:45 and our supervision posts will eliminate any disruptions. I expect every staff member to be up and circulating around students to make sure their behaviors are consistent with our expectations.

Dress Code for Staff

I want to commend everyone for looking their professional best everyday. Continue to model for our students how they should prepare for school and work.

Emergency Preparedness

Reminder...I have placed an appointment on everyone's calendar regarding an Active Shooter training that will be held January 13th from 3:45-4:45 in the cafeteria. I wanted to give as much advance notice as possible. As customary, we will have a drill or two this month. Make sure you stay aware of our evacuation routines and are expediting the evacuations. As a reminder, when we have to evacuate, I expect all teachers and staff members to exit the buildings in an orderly fashion and get to your locations in less than 90 seconds. To stay prepared, please review the procedures and make sure you practice them with your classes. During evacuation drills, everyone must be out of the building and in their assigned areas in ninety seconds. Let's hustle to safety in an orderly fashion.

Focused Reminder... I expect all classes with exterior doors to remain locked at all times. Assign a student to be the designed door opener. All exterior gates must be locked at all times. Any visitor to our campus must check-in the front office first and register with our lobby guard system. Remember, everyone's safety is our top priority.

ID & Tardy Cards

All students should properly display their ID and have in their possession a tardy card each and every day. Teachers with first period classes are responsible for ordering temporary ID's for those students that do not have one. A student should not make it to second period classes without an ID. Let's work together to ensure that this policy and our practices are followed by all students and staff personnel.

Leaving your classroom

If you are relocating your classroom for any reason, you must notify the front office and attendance so we will know everyone's whereabouts. If you have any questions or concerns, see your assigned administrator.

Next Year's Schedule

Just prior to the break, we sent out a survey asking for your feedback on adjusting the schedule for next school year. We are currently working on that schedule and will be presenting a revised schedule during our meeting in February that contains a proposal for increased planning time. Right now, based on our current staff allocation, this will increase class sizes somewhat. We will work through all simulations and share the findings.

Student Behavior

As students have returned from a rather lengthy holiday break, they need detailed refreshers on the rules, procedures, and overall expectations in every class. As I walked around Thursday and Friday, I saw many teachers back in the swing of things. Remember, we must REACH THEM BEFORE WE TEACH THEM! Middle school students need frequent reminders and opportunities to rehearse the routines and expectations. As needed, you have my permission to return to the basics and ensure that student's are clear on the expectations. I encourage you to avoid preaching and lecturing to them as this will result in them tuning you out. You will have to use teachable moments and incorporate valued instructional strategies to accomplish this task.

Student Dress Code

Let's return with a renewed emphasis on the dress code. 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 judgement 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.

Teaching and Learning

As we embark on our January Journey, we will be making a concerted effort to observe our progress in classes. Our focus will be on instructional strategies, student engagement, and how you are integrating the January magnet theme (World Leadership) in your lessons. In particular, we are looking for the following:

1. Real world, hand-on activities to help students learn and apply critical thinking skills.

2. Activities that engage students in developing questions, asking questions, and finding answers through investigation.

3. Discussions that stimulate students to seek information on their own and by collaborating with others.

4. Engagement where students are attracted to their work, persist in despite challenges and obstacles, and take visible delight in accomplishing their work.

I am confident that we will see some amazing things going on in classes as world leadership can easily be incorporated into every subject taught at IMS. Remember to lessen student dependency on teacher provided answers and increase their ability to individually and collaboratively on researching and learn processes by finding their own (correct) solutions.


Don't forget, make sure the following is on your board:

Learning Target (I Can...Statements) for every prep taught (these must be updated daily)



Upcoming Projects/Assignments

During your lessons, make sure you are asking challenging questions that invoke inquiry and process not just rote memorization. Are you using appropriate DOK Question STEMS? Here are five simple questions that you can ask students to deepen their level of learning:

1. What do you think?

2. Why do you think that?

3. How do you know this?

4. Can you tell me more?

5. What questions do you still have?

Finally, remember as a district, this year we are focusing on two major concepts through the data teams process:

1. Explicit Direct Instruction - New Link!

2. Higher Order Questioning - New Link!

The Magnet Minute!

Curricular Infusion: This month's magnet theme for curricular infusion is WORLD LEADERSHIP. As you brainstorm, plan, collaborate, and implement this month's theme into your instruction, take time to consider how this theme can be connected to your standards and infused naturally into your pacing guides and long-term plans. It's vital that magnet themes are integrated in a relevant, meaningful, and connected manner - not in isolation or disconnected from the standards-based instruction in your classrooms. When considering WORLD LEADERSHIP, you may challenge your students to question a myriad of concepts:Who are influential historical or contemporary world leaders? Who are the contemporary world leaders in your specific field (science, math, etc.)? What are the different types of leadership styles? How do these styles impact the daily lives of citizens in various parts of the world (i.e. daily life in Cuba versus the US)?

Curricular relevance may also mean honing in on timely events, such as the upcoming Olympics (world leaders in athletics) or the recent passing of Nelson Mandela (how did his leadership impact South Africa? The greater world?). The real essence of our transformation into The International Academic Magnet is the theme-based curriculum we are building (and simultaneously implementing), and it is imperative that we think outside of the box, collaborate and share resources, and concentrate our efforts on creating classroom experiences that reflect the integration of our theme. As the feds asserted at the Project Director's Meeting in Washington D.C. in December, the grant narrative (which outlines our plan for creating an internationally theme curricula) is no longer a plan or a brainstorm - it's a contract that we must enact. Please see the attached Magnet News, which describes the TOP 5 take-aways from the meeting.

Finally, in regards to curricular infusion, it is time to begin planning for the End-of-Year Magnet CELEBRATION! This school-wide event will take place in the evening during the weeks remaining after PASS testing. Each teacher will be provided with space to display exemplary student work that reflects theme-based instruction. Your "booth" may be collaborative - for example, it may demonstrate student work from an ELA/SS project that was connected to Global Education; or, it may simply reflect your students' work related to an international problem or concept that really resonated with you and your students (i.e. Mrs. Vickie Davis' display may reflect her partnership with the school in Iceland). The theme of the evening is An International Perspective iNSIDE iAM, and the focus of the evening will be the students and their theme-based learning. We have over 5 months to plan and you will receive a wealth of detailed information in order to help you prepare for this inaugural event!

Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities: We have several professional development opportunities on the horizon, as we continue our Exploring year of Expeditionary Learning. This week, we say "Bon Voyage!" to Mrs. Vickie Davis and Mrs. Jen Cook, who are traveling to Denver, Colorado for an EL Learning Institute focused on Daily Assessment practices. Later this month, iAM will be represented by Mrs. Tina Stevens, Ms. Billie Williams, Mrs. Chiquitta Rouse, and Mrs. Erin Fuseler at an EL Site Seminar in Chicago, IL that is focused on character, culture, and CREW. In the EL spirit of share-backs and scaffolding, these teachers will provide a whole-staff workshop based on their learning and experiences. Additionally, Sarah Boddy, our school designer, will return within the next two months to provide more staff PD based on our key dimension of study this year - Character and Culture. Remember, this year is about planning and exploring! Also, you will be receiving information over the next few weeks regarding our upcoming staff survey. The staff survey is EL's way of gauging a staff's readiness to officially become an Expeditionary Learning school. Because of our extensive conversations regarding EL and the exposure that many teachers have had already (through attending workshops, conferences, and/or school visits), we feel very prepared for the survey. However, to ensure total transparency, the readiness indicators that will be outlined on the survey will be provided in advance for your review, discussion, and dissection.

What else is happening on the magnet front? We are hitting the ground running in 2014 with our transformation into The International Academic Magnet! Please note these dates:

-Thursday, Jan. 9: the second Choice Fair will take place at CRMS from 5:00-6:30

-Thursday, Jan. 16: the Magnet Implementation Team will meet after school

-Friday, Jan. 17: Dr. Ronnie Hopkins will lead this month's Lyceum Series event - an African Dance "lunch-and-learn" workshop in the cafeteria during all lunches

-Thursday, Jan. 23: Representatives from the ELA and SS departments will meet with The Book Dispensary to begin selecting texts to enhance our international classroom libraries

Additional reading: Check out this article, which further substantiates our plight and provides evidence that this hard work really matters.

SPED Corner

Co-teaching in ELA

Thank you to each teacher who is a part of our co-taught ELA and Math programs. This instructional model is allowing our special education students to receive the extra support and services they need to be successful. Of course, with this instructional model only being in our second year, it is continuously developing. While this holds true for both content areas, there will be a particular emphasis placed on ELA for this upcoming semester.

There is a plan for district-level personnel from Special Services to become more involved via observing the co-taught ELA classes. I will also place an increased emphasis on working with you to help develop strategies, increasing my purposeful communication to address your questions and concerns, and including ideas through observation. These observations are completely intended to focus on the special education students, and are for the singular purpose of developing strategies to support you in instruction of the special education students in your co-taught classroom. Thank you in advance for your work and willingness to instruct in this model.

In the meantime, to provide you a few initial resources:

  • This video shows different ways that the co-taught model was implemented in the classroom. This is just an overview of various model types.
  • Following up on this video of some different ways to implement the co-taught model, the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) has provided different resources and overview areas related to the co-taught classroom.
  • A journal article that shares many good ideas and information about the different types of co-taught models, different classroom strategies, and information about co-taught in general.
  • Co-Teaching Ideas Article

SPED Student Behavior

Thank you to each and every faculty and staff member who works to address positive behavior in our special education students. Your high expectations will allow for our students to achieve their social and behavioral outcomes. All students need to be held to the same rules and expectations, and that is everyone’s sole intent. Of course, there are different requirements that the special education team is accountable to when addressing a special education student’s behavior. Nonetheless, as with all students, some special education students respond differently than other with certain social and behavioral strategies. During upcoming faculty meetings, and through email, we will share some ideas and provide you additional resources that you may find helpful. Of course, through the PBIS committee, the idea is to once again this year implement the Tier 2 PBIS Check-In Check-Out (CICO) intervention for this spring semester. The goal of this intervention is to increase appropriate student behavior. We will continue to work on providing you updates after winter break.

Spring IEPs

I cannot believe I am already sending out information regarding Spring IEPs! While we still have time before they are upon us, at this preliminary point, I just wanted to send out some brief information regarding this area.

  • As we have done in past years, we will stagger the regular education team member who is assigned to the IEP meeting. We will keep track of which regular education teacher attends each meeting, and spread the responsibilities across as many teachers as possible. Of course, some of our students only have one regular education teacher who is a part of their instruction, and so because of this case, those teachers will only be reserved for these students. While we still have months until this process begins, I wanted to send out some basic, clarifying information.
  • For a select group of our special education students, they have their Anticipated Date of Annual Review meetings from April 15 – 20, which of course is the week of spring break. For those students, we will need to meet as a team before spring break to review progress and data, and will meet again at some point after spring break for the team to develop the actual Annual IEP. I just wanted to let you know for those who may attend both meetings.

As time grows closer to Spring IEPs beginning, I will send out more information. I just wanted to give everyone a head’s up, and know some basic logistical information.

And lastly . . .

Just a big thank you for all your continued effort and support you have thus far provided our students. Helping to address each student’s particular needs day in and day out is quite a challenging task. Your commitment to each student who has a disability is amazing to see! From all of us, thank you!!!

Guidance Corner


(Individual Graduation Plans) are well underway. 8th graders and parents are meeting with counselors and career specialist to coordinate selections of their career cluster(s) and planning for academic success leading to college and career readiness. We appreciate your patience and support as we move forward with this required expectation. Meetings are scheduled twice a day at 9:00am and 2:00pm. We hope that this schedule limits class interruptions throughout the day and allows for easier planning for both students and teachers.

9th Grade Registration

On Monday (1/6/14) math teachers will receive registration cards for 9th grade registration. Irmo High School will present to our 8th graders on Monday, January 27 and Tuesday, January 28 in the math classes using the following schedule:

8th Grade Registration Schedule for Math Classes

In the past, the process has involved teams collaborating to complete the course recommendations. We will provide specific recommendation instructions in the days coming.

As we have previously experienced all the wonderful and exciting changes with full implementation of iAM Internal Magnet, another transformational change is the addition of more dance classes and the new Media Arts course. What this means for IMS is additional course selections for students. We are working to populate new classes for second quarter. Students interested will be allowed to add either dance or media arts into their existing schedule. To make this transition we will be making schedule changes of student 1st and 6th block classes, with little changes to existing classes as possible.

Closing Thoughts

As we embark on our January Journey, I would like for us to keep the main thing the main thing. We are here to do a job, make a positive difference in the lives of all the students, and meet/exceed our performance goals (personally and professionally). Exams for semester classes are right around the corner and we need to be working with our students, getting them closer to mastery. Those students who missed exams should be undergoing make-up opportunities so they can get caught up with all assignments and assessments by the time we start the second semester. I am encouraging everyone to take additional steps to inform parents through teacher communication channels (Social media, Websites, Newsletters, Remind 101, Edmodo, etc...) the progress of their student(s) and steps that are being taken to ensure that every student reaches their desired level of success.

Student Excitement - As typical with middle school students, their excitement coupled with the return to school following the holiday break boils over into classroom scenarios. As you encounter these scenarios, use them as teachable moments and frame them in the context of standards-driven learning outcomes. We must all have the same high expectations for student behavior (academically and socially). Let's unite in communicating those expectations and hold all students to a very high standard. I am encouraging all staff members to be individually resourceful and collaboratively seek strategies and tools for dealing with recurring behaviors.

Teacher Adjustments - As I have shared with you countless times, it is in student's DNA to display excitement for middle school and challenge our routines. We must match their excitement with clear norms in our supervisory roles and intervention efforts. Remember, tools and strategies for curtailing this excitement can be found in setting clear expectations, repeatedly rehearsing routines, consistently providing engaging instructional experiences, utilizing all of our collective resources, and regularly contacting parents (positively and seeking assistance). Be cautiously watchful in your supervision roles and report disruptions and things out of the ordinary immediately.

This week's Friday Forecast is filled with reminders and requires detailed reading, re-reading, and task assignments by all personnel. It is my hope that the calendar entries, exam schedules, and reminders will allow you to plan accordingly and help illuminate the path ahead. Every child at IMS needs you to be their Superman or Superwoman. It's hard work but Together Everyone can Achieve More.

Stand by me....iAM...#IrmoSTRONG

Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S., Principal

Hard Work - Gatorade TV Commercial
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