All Things Bally

Published: January 4, 2019

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This Week's Events

Monday: Drama Club Practice, Home basketball (boys) vs. St. Pius

Tuesday: Home basketball (boys) vs. Conner, Board Game Club, Storybook Club, MathCounts

Wednesday: Drama Club, Photography Club, Books and Bites, Yearbook Club

Thursday: Comic Book Club, Art Club, Academic Team Practice, Home basketball (girls) vs. Grant County, School Board Meeting at Ralph Rush at 7:30pm

Friday: Sign Language Club, Forensics Team

Principals Message

Welcome to a new decade (if you believe 2020 starts the decade and 2021 does not)! We do have some reminders and some new updates as we jump into the 2nd half of this school year.

Water only during the day: We are a "water only" zone during the day unless your child has a specific medial need for other liquid nourishment during the day. Basically, we don't want kids to fill their water bottles with anything but water because spills happen ( a lot) in middle school and cleaning up water throughout the day makes much more sense than cleaning up coffee, coke, gatorade, etc. Have you seen school paper towels? Not so absorbent.

Dress code...please follow. No belly shirts. That's really the only problem we tend to have and it's started applying to both males and females so as a general rule, if you wear a cropped top, something needs to be under it so we don't see skin.

When we began standards based learning and grading (SBL and SBG), we did not choose the learning management system used by Conner, Camp Ernst, and Ockerman (Summit). We instead chose Canvas as our learning management system (LMS). This means that Canvas holds all of our educational information for students. Lessons, grades, assignments due, etc.. At the time of our opening, Canvas did not "pass back" grades to Infinite Campus. This means that if we put a grade in Canvas, it would not sync with Infinite Campus. In a traditional grading scale, it would. In a SBG world, it would not. LO AND now does. Mrs. Barton (a 7th grade teacher) has been piloting the use of passback and housing all grades in Infinite Campus during December. She surveyed parents and they prefer looking at IC for grades 4 to 1. We struggled with whether or not to shift the entire school to this method this year because we don't want to turn you upside down again, but fortunately Mrs. Barton asked for comments and it was clear to us...we need to do this now. Mrs. Barton will be training the staff the first week back to school and during the month of January you will see a gradual shift for teachers to put ALL grades in IC. You'll be able to use it like you previously did or like you currently do with your high school kids. If you log into the parent portal, you'll be able to see updated grades. This won't be your only correspondence about this. We'll keep you posted as we roll it out.

Dr. Poe has determined June 30th of this year as his final day working in Boone County Schools after 37 years of service to our district. This means we are hiring a new superintendent. You are invited to an open forum to receive feedback about what you'd like to see in the next superintendent of Boone County Schools at the Ignite Institute in Erlanger at 6:30pm on January 14th.

We will soon be selling tickets for the 8th grade dinner dance. 8th grade parents, I'll email you separately about that. It will be held Saturday, May 9th on B and B Riverboats. I don't recall the specific time but it's 6 to 9ish. Last year the 8th graders thought that "no one would go" and we registered more than half of the class at the last minute when they realized that yes...everyone was going. I've been hinting this to your kids early that yes...everyone will go. Buy tickets when they go on sale. Middle school can be tough. :) If you need help with ticket $$$, contact us. We can help.

We said good bye to some amazing Shamrocks in December who left us to return to Germany and Japan, who transferred to Ockerman and Conner, and who moved out of state. We wish them well! We are welcoming new students this week that we're excited to meet.

It will feel like testing is on steriods the next few months but I'll try to keep it in perspective for you in this list:

  • We will not have a mid-year Star Reading or Star Math test this year for the entire school. Only students receiving interventions will have a Star test mid year.
  • We will administer another CASE assessment for reading, math, and Algebra for Algebra I students in January/February. Reading is one morning. Math is one morning. Algebra is one morning. This is a normed assessment based on state standards. It measures what percentages of our students have mastered the content. This allows us to identify gaps in learning, correct our teaching, and provide remediation or acceleration during Tutorial more readily.
  • 8th graders will take the CERT assessment (ACT predictor) again in late January or early February. They took it once in September. We'll then have two scores to use as they begin the registration process at the high schools.
  • The state is requiring us to give a "field test" for the new K-Prep exams that will be given in 2021. Each students will randomly receive ONE test that they will take only. Yep...all state testing is moving to online in 2021. This will be a one-morning event.
  • K-Prep testing is five of the last 14 days of school. We have to wait for snow days/calendar adjustments if needed to determine when that is. The testing window is fluid for now.
  • We'll give one last CASE in the spring and we will END the year with Star so we can see student growth from August to May.

Good gravy, right? In summary, 6th and 7th graders will have 5 mornings of testing (we adjust the schedule and delete tutorial and SEL to accomplish this), 8th graders will have 6 mornings of testing this K-Prep in May for everyone. Other than that...we get to teach and learn the other 70ish days or so. Whoohoooo!!!

PTO rewards for Color Run are THIS MONTH. We had to delay due to illness in December.

That's all for now. If you need us, please shout. We're here for your questions, your concerns, for you to yell at us, or for you to tell us what you like. It's your school. Be sure you share your voice.

Erika Bowles

James Demetrakis

Ballyshannon SEL, Counseling, and Guidance

CLICK HERE to learn more about the programs Mrs. Palmer and Mrs. Steinbrunner organize for our kids.

This link changes ever week.

Info From Our Teachers

6th Grade Newsletter --Click here!

7th Grade Newsletter ..Click here!

8th Grade Newsletter--Click here!

These links change every month.

Info from our PTSA

Colorful Run prizes will be awarded in JANUARY!! Wahoo!

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Science and Engineering Fair of NKY

Registration for the Science and Engineering Fair of Northern Kentucky will open in January!

Date: Saturday, February 22, 2020

Fee: $35 per project (includes t-shirt)

Location: Northern Kentucky University Ballroom


Registration closes on Friday, February 7th.

Top category winners from 5th-12th grade will be promoted to the State Competition in March. Over 20 awards and scholarships to win, totaling over $100,000!

The Best of Fair winner of the High School Division will win an all-expense paid trip to ISEF 2020 in Anaheim, CA!!

Home Basketball Schedule

6th grade plays at 5, 7th grade plays at 6, 8th grade plays at 7:15

Students may not stay after school for games.

Monday, January 6: Boys vs. St. Pius

Tuesday, January 7: Boys vs. Conner

Thursday, January 9: Girls vs. Grant Co.

Tuesday, January 13: Girls vs. Gray

Tuesday, January 14: Girls vs. Camp Ernst

Thursday, January 16: Boys vs. IHM

Thursday, January 23: Boys vs. Highlands

Monday, January 27: Girls vs. Campbell Co.

Tuesday, January 28: Boys vs Twenhofel

NKMSAA Tournament: 2/1, 2/4, 2/6

Parent Discussion Series

Our counselors have created a 6-week series beginning in January. They have selected articles that are relevant and of high interest to parents raising middle schoolers. We'll gather during the evening and have time to discuss our take-aways from the articles with other parents at Bally. You don't have to attend all 6 sessions. You can pick and choose which ones you're most interested in.

Topics include:

  • 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do
  • Top 10 Reasons Teens Have So Much Anxiety
  • Is Safetyism Destroying a Generation?
  • Why Social Media is Not Smart for Middle Schoolers
  • Speaking the soul: Why kids cut and what we can do about it
  • Juuling and Teenagers: Why Vaping is a Dangerous Trend
  • How to Help Tweens and Teens Manage Social Conflict: Don’t add to the drama. Take it in stride and coach your kids as they work to resolve things on their own.

Want to be included in updates about our series? Email one of our counselors.

KET Young Writers Contest

KET Young Writers Contest begins November 4, 2019 with deadline for submission will be March 27, 2020 including grades 6 - 12.

See following link for guidelines.

Scholarship Opportunities for Graduating Seniors

The Brewer Foundation for Civic Engagement will once again be awarding a graduating senior from each of the high schools a one time award for the winning applicant. See the scholarship application below.

Deadline no later than April 1, 2020 of student's senior year. Submissions via email to

Making Sense of Standards Based Learning

We use standards based learning at our school. Here's how we design it:

1. We use the district timeline for each grade level and each content area. (Click HERE and then click District Curriculum from the home page.)

2. Once we have identified the standards we will be teaching according to the district timeline, we create Proficiency Scales. (You can view all of your child's proficiency scales on his/her Google site. Ask them to pull it up for you at home.)

3. After we create our proficiency scales, we design a unit plan and daily lesson plans. The unit plan and daily lesson plans are created to lead kids to mastery of the standards through general and differentiated instruction.

Proficiency Scales will tell you what is required to score a 1, 2, 3, or 4 for each and every standard.

  • Students receive a 1 if they require help from the teacher in understanding the prerequisite skills of a standard.
  • Students receive a 2 if they have mastered all of the prerequisite skills and academic vocabulary necessary to master the standard.
  • Students receive a 3 if they have completely mastered a standard and demonstrated mastery over time.
  • Students receive a 4 if they pursue extended or deeper learning of a standard after they have achieved mastery. This will most likely occur during the tutorial period or as extension activities in class.

Teachers will begin awarding 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 at the next grading period if you have not seen them on progress reports already.

  • A 1.5 will mean that the student requires assistance on some skills, but is reaching mastery of prerequisite skills on their own for others.
  • A 2.5 will mean that the student has mastered all of the prerequisite skills and some aspects of the standard, but not full mastery of the standard.
  • A 3.5 will mean that the student has mastered the standard and has demonstrated some level of enrichment of the standard beyond mastery.

At the end of the year, the 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, and 4 are converted to number and letter grades on the official report card.

4 = A+, 100

3.5 = A, 95

3 = A-, 90

2.5 = B, 85

2.0 = B-, 80

1.5 = C, 75

1 = C-, 70

All grades below 1 will register as an Incomplete. If the course is not remediated through summer school, the Incomplete becomes an F.

Because most grade-level standards should be mastered over the course of a year, it isn't logical to assume that children will have straight 3's in the first quarter. This way of learning and assessing learning is a yearlong process.

Traditional grading can be an inaccurate representation of a child's knowledge. Here are two examples:

  • Student 1 is struggling with the content and often confused in class. However, he takes advantage of every extra credit assignment the teacher gives. This boosts his grade when he doesn't do well on tests. He also completes all of his classwork and homework so he gets full participation points. These participation points are averaged into his low points he receives on assessments. At the end of the term, he receives an A, but he understands very little of what has been taught.
  • Student 2 can listen to the teacher teach in class, never write anything down, and still pass all of the assessments with flying colors. He often gets a perfect score on quizzes and tests. He does not, however, do any of his homework and many times doesn't complete his classwork. His participation scores are very low. When averaged with his assessment results, he receives a final score of C+ on the report card.

If you are the parent of student 1, do you assume he will have a good ACT score? As parents we should expect that what the school communicates to us is an accurate representation of knowledge. It may not be.

If you are the parent of student 2, do you assume he will struggle or is not learning? Would you label this student as lazy? The reality is that this student's grades in a traditional grading system may communicate one of those ideas but in actuality this may be a student who is not challenged, has already mastered the material, and who needs enrichment.

Standards based learning is a means of providing transparent communication to students and families about the understanding of the grade-level content. We implement standards based learning because we have confidence this method of learning will best prepare your child for high school and postsecondary studies. Your child works with their proficiency scales regularly. He/she should be able to pull them up for you and explain where they are for each standard.

Standards based learning also helps students realize deep learning takes time, resilience, grit, determination, and perseverance. Deep learning takes practice.

We know this can be tough for all of us who were raised with traditional grades in school. We're accustomed to points-based grading. We get a 5/10 on a quiz, we do a 10 point extra credit assignment, we turn in all of our homework, we get a 105% for the quarter. We feel good...but what about that 50% on the quiz?

Give yourself some time to learn more about standards based learning. Give us feedback and give us ideas for how to make this more understandable for you. We will continue to deliver education events to help support you as parents.

Mrs. Kegley will be organizing another round of Standards Based Learning 101 sessions during November. Stay tuned. We'll get you supported. As our instructional coach, Mrs. Kegley is also available for individual consult, explanation of how to use Canvas as a parent, and so much more.

School Hours

Doors open: 7:00am (students report to gym or cafe)

Breakfast: 7:00-7:30am

Tardy Bell: 7:35am (students must be in their 1st period classroom)

Buses, Walkers, Bike Riders dismiss: 2:35pm

Car Riders dismiss: 2:40pm