Stephen Decatur Middle School

Empowering Students Through Academic Excellence

Principal's Message

September 2019


Dear Parents and Guardians:


Welcome to Stephen Decatur Middle School. For many, Welcome Back! Your administrators, teachers and custodians have worked very hard this summer preparing for September 3 when 693 students walk through our front doors. We are looking forward to an outstanding school year.

This is a growing and changing time in your child's life as they transition into their middle school years - adolescence. With only two short years standing between your child and high school, teachers work very hard preparing them for success. Through rigorous instruction and a variety of challenging opportunities, students are empowered to maximize their potential.

Our student scheduling process takes multiple months to complete as we look at individual student data to assure that each child is scheduled for what they need , utilizing and maximizing the resources available to us. You will notice that your child's schedule may look different from previous years. We have had to get creative so that we are complying with state and federal mandated classes for our middle school students, with no increased staffing. That is why you will see some specials classes offered for one term, some for a semester and others every other day year long. If there is something you do not understand , please ask us about it. We are happy to answer your questions.

Last year we made a change in qualifications for our end of the year Academic Honors Assembly. To be recognized, a student must meet the GPA requirements and also have satisfactory attendance which the state sets at 94%. That translates to not missing more than 11 days of school. Take a close look at this year's county calendar. You will see that there are extended days off around the holidays to accommodate family vacations. There is a long spring break that we have not seen in years. If possible, these would be great times to travel without missing school. Keeping track of student 1/2 days is a new requirement for us this year. That time will be part of those 11 days.

As we think about student attendance as well as safety, we recognize and acknowledge the growing concern around the issue of "bullying". All of our students have access to an anonymous bullying reporting app called Stop!t. The app may be accessed through our website using the student tab. The app may also be added to personal devices, if you prefer. This eliminates the stigma of "snitching" or the fear of repercussions by peers. Our counselors will be presenting the details of using this app with students during the first couple of weeks of school. Our returning students are familiar with it.

Teachers use REMIND, a messaging app, to communicate homework and important team information. If you have not signed up to receive these messages, you may want to consider doing so. It is a quick, efficient and easy way to stay in touch with what is going on with your child in school. As a school, we use the countywide robo calling system to communicate school wide information. Please be sure we have your updated phone number so that you are able to receive these important messages.

We had a great turnout for Open House/Back to School Night last Wednesday evening. Thank you. Please continue to visit, attend our Parent Conference Nights and be involved. Communication is the key. We want and need your involvement. It really does take all of us to educate and do what is best for our children. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We post student and staff highlights often.

Again, we are looking forward to a terrific year.


Sincerely,

Lynne Barton

Congratulations!! Dr.Ridgely just completed a docoral program at Salisbury University

Congratulations!!! Dr. Ridgely

We are proud of Mrs. Ridgely - now Dr. Ridgely, who recently completed her doctoral program at Salisbury University. Teachers never stop learning.