Spartan Gazette

December 2019

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Being Present - A Message from Mr. Jondle

It’s difficult to believe that yet another year has come and gone, and that we find ourselves looking ahead to another calendar year. This time of the year is always bittersweet for me personally, as I am someone who enjoys routine and often struggle with change. The older I get however, the more I understand that with change comes new opportunities and growth. It is that outlook that has helped me to look forward to the New Year and understand the importance of reflecting on the past.

The Holiday Season is often a time of reflection, a time for change, a time to set new goals, as well as a time to celebrate and look ahead. The same holds true for each of us here at IMMS. This “half-way point” of the school year allows each of us to look back at what has gone well so far, what changes are on the horizon, and also a time to celebrate our work! With this theme in mind, I find myself guilty of always looking ahead to the future and forgetting to truly “be present” and living in the moment. One of my favorite quotes that I’ve always tried to live out is, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.”

That being said, I would like to provide my annual reminders about one aspect of this school year that has been a focal point for our students, staff, and families regarding students truly “being present”.

Regarding student attendance, The McFarland School District policy allows for ten (10) excused absences in a school year. Beyond ten days, we ask that absences be verified by a doctor’s excuse, appointment card, or be approved by the Principal or Associate Principal.

We realize that some absences are unavoidable. At the same time, we know that when students miss too much school they can fall behind academically. We don’t want your child to fall behind and get discouraged. Here are some things you can do to keep your child on track:

  • Make daily, on-time attendance the expectation in your household

  • Establish regular routines, such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep

  • When possible, avoid scheduling dental and medical appointments during the school day

  • Avoid extended vacations that require your child to miss school

  • Don’t let your child stay home unless they are truly sick

  • Ask for help from school officials if you’re having trouble getting your child to school

If your child is sick or there is a legitimate reason for keeping your child home, we ask that you please contact the Indian Mound Middle School Office at (608) 838-8980 before 8:10 A.M. If your child does see a doctor or is in the care of a medical professional, kindly provide the school with a note from the doctor or clinic.

Additionally, I thought I would share some statistics that have surfaced in direct correlation with student achievement and attendance.

  • Half the students who miss two-four days in September go on to miss nearly one month of school.

  • An estimated 5 million to 7.5 million U.S. students miss nearly one month of school each year (approximately 20 days).

  • Absenteeism and its ill effects start early. One in ten kindergarten and first grade students are chronically absent. Poor attendance can influence whether children read proficiently by the end of third grade or be held back.

  • By Sixth Grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student may drop out of high school.

  • Research shows that missing 10 percent of the school year [or about 18 days in most school districts], negatively affects a student’s academic performance. That’s just two days a month and that’s known as chronic absence.

  • The academic impact of missing that much school is the same whether the absences are excused or unexcused.

  • When students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances for graduating.

  • Attendance improves when schools engage students and parents in positive ways and when schools provide mentors for chronically absent students.

  • Most school districts and states don’t look at all the right data to improve school attendance. They track how many students show up every day and how many are skipping school without an excuse, but not how many are missing so many days in excused and unexcused absence that they are headed off track academically.

It is my goal this year and each year forward, to do everything I can to help provide support and understanding for families and students regarding attendance. It is also my hope that we continue to create a school environment where students want to be at school and truly be present!

New Year

Finally and most importantly, this Holiday Season is a time to give thanks for all that we have and what we have to look ahead to for 2020. I invite you to look back on all that your 2019 has been, and to what 2020 can be. While change is scary for many of us, it always brings substance and opportunities to each of our lives. Let’s embrace the unknown and celebrate all that 2019 was for us, while remembering to truly “be present” living in the moment, and making the most of our time together here at IMMS!

From our IMMS Family to yours, may 2020 bring each of you peace, prosperity, and happiness.


Brett Jondle, IMMS Associate Principal

Resource Used: “10 Facts About School Attendance.” Attendance Works, Accessed 17 Nov. 2018. Click here.

The 100 Black Men of Madison African American History Bowl Challenge

IMMS is excited to announce that we will again be participating in The 100 Black Men of Madison African American History Challenge Bowl (AAHCB). The AAHCB is an educational program designed for 6th through 8th grade students to enhance the appreciation and study of African American history. In its 26th consecutive year of operation, the bowl is a challenging and fun way for students to expand their knowledge of African American History in highly competitive local and national competitions.

The annual contest is in a quiz show format where students are quizzed on questions from the book "100 Amazing Facts About The Negro" by Henry Louis Gates Jr. A book is provided to each student and students will complete in teams of two. The first week in April our IMMS teams will compete against each other. The winning team will represent our school and compete for a chance to represent the Madison chapter at the national conference in Atlanta, GA in June.

If you or your student have any questions or would like more information please contact Mrs. Branch through email at or by phone 838-4819. We are still welcoming any student who would like to participate!

Panama Presentation - By Mr. Beedle

During his final week at IMMS, Butch Beedle (Mrs. Sanders' long-term sub), talked to the 6th graders about his many amazing adventures and experiences in Panama. Mr. Beedle has traveled to Panama many times over his teaching career and emphasized, to the 6th graders, the value of hands-on learning.
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Alliance of Allies - Bowling Event

Alliance of Allies (AoA) had a wonderful time at our bowling event! HUGE thanks to all that joined this awesome event. Please talk with your child about joining a great group of kids that want to make a real difference in the lives of others.

  • Weekly Meetings: Thursday 7:30 AM in room 120
  • Goal: To foster diverse and inclusive relationships across grade levels

We are looking for students that let differences be a doorway to new opportunities. Please let us know if you have any questions. -- Mrs. Jackie Hickey & Mrs. Katie Miller
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The following flyers are NOT all school-sponsored activities and the McFarland School District does not provide support or endorsement of the program/flyer. It has neither reviewed nor approved the program, personnel, or activities announced in the brochure/flyer. Permission to distribute this material must not be considered a recommendation or endorsement by the School District.
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Badger Bot Tournament Winners

Katelyn Pigott and Heather Drake from IMMS and 2 other team members from other schools (Waunakee and Oregon), competed in the Badger Bot Tournament with First Lego League. Their team name is Amp-Lay Ats-Hay. Out of 31 teams, they won the highest honor – the Champion Award.

Champion’s Award - This award recognizes a team that embodies the FIRST LEGO League experience, by fully embracing our Core Values while achieving excellence and innovation in both the Robot Game and Project.

They will compete at the Regionals tournament next on Jan 5 in Watertown, WI.

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McFarland Youth Center - December Newsletter

Hello Youth, Parents and Guardians.

The school year is going by fast and The McFarland Youth Center continues to provide daily activities, a daily snack, a homework space, homework help, a recreational space and more.

Our after school program will continue to run from 3-6 Monday to Friday (Tentative: check calendar or monthly emails for any closings). During this time youth are welcome to use the space for recreational activities or to participate in a group activity. They are also welcome to use our homework room for a quiet and calm place to read or do homework, adults will be available to help if needed. McFarland Youth Center has many recreational options this year! An outside and indoor basketball hoop, air hockey table, pool table, a Xbox 1 & other video game systems, foosball, shuffle board, darts, ping pong, board games and more!

Girls Group will continue to run from 5:30 to 7:30 on Mondays in December, we have once again partnered with girls scouts to offer the youth developmentally enriching projects and programs. Additionally, youth will have opportunities to earn girls scout swag and exciting MYC incentives! This opportunity will be open to the first 10 girls to sign on; email for more information or to add your kiddo to the list! (Youth will be fed dinner on Girls Group days due to extended hours)

Boys Group will continue to run on Thursdays from 6 to 7:30 pm, we will offer group games and identity building projects during this time. Boys will also earn incentive awards through MYC for attendance and participation. (Youth will be fed dinner on Boys Group days due to extended hours)

See below for Key Dates:

Key Dates and Closings:

  • December 23rd to January 2nd: MYC CLOSED for winter break.

If your youth is new to MYC please fill out the needed pledge form found on our website

Once this form is completed and submitted youth are welcome to drop in any time from 3-6 (M-F) for any after-school programming and to sign up for any extended programming.

Thank you and as always, please don't hesitate to email or call with any questions or concerns.

Megan Beckler

Managing Director

McFarland Youth Center

5114 Farwell St

PO Box 362

McFarland, WI 53558

Office: (608) 838-3839

Cell: (608) 395-8617

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