Principal Message

January 29, 2023

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Dear Runkle Friends,

This past week was a busy one at Runkle. Our fourth graders were thoroughly engaged by the Birds of Prey presentation on Tuesday provided by PAAR (pictured above). Our Student Council met twice this week to make plans for the months of February and March. They plan to help 8th grade parents set up for the February 15th Middle School Dance and they are currently developing a virtual Suggestion Box for all students to share ideas. They have great ideas to honor Black History Month in February. Stayed tuned for some Spirit Days in the upcoming month. We have received feedback that 5 Spirit Days in a row can be overwhelming and have adjusted our plans. Friday, January 27th was the 90th day of school OR Half Way Day! Many classrooms celebrated this milestone on Friday.
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Middle School News

On Monday, January 23rd we gathered our 7th and 8th grade students in the Multipurpose Room for the last 30 minutes of the day. Concerns around the use of technology and other behaviors have increased this past month. The main concerns were the following:

  • Students are accessing peers' Chromebooks when they are left unattended. Some students think it is amusing to type inappropriate searches on the Chromebook. They may be trying to get a peer in trouble or just trying to be funny. However, the language used in many searches is offensive on multiple levels (racist, homophobic, insensitive to the disabled). We discussed how easy it is for the adults at Runkle to see a student's search history. Their devices are PSB property. The information does not go away. We made it clear that nobody should be on another person's device. We also made it clear that we would share the sites entered with parents if this happens again.
  • Students are taking pictures of each other without permission and posting on social media sites. Most of this is happening outside of the school day, but many pictures appear to be taken at school. This information gets back to school leaders. We are notified by other schools when one of our students' name is discovered during an investigation at their building. When students are made to feel unsafe or uncomfortable at school due to incidents happening outside of school, it becomes our responsibility to intervene. PLEASE monitor your child's devices. We need to partner in this venture. I plan to work with the PTO and School Site Council to host parent coffees to share information that can support parents/guardians and students. Our clinical team of guidance counselors, social workers and interns are committed to this work as well.
  • We shared the need for students to LEAVE the building when the school day ends. We have too many middle school students lingering in the lobby and hallways. Teachers have had money and other items taken from their classrooms. We understand that some students are waiting for rides. These students have permission to do homework at the lobby table. This is a very small number of students. If others want to stay for Homework Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays (2:45-3:45), they are always welcome. HWC meets in Ms. Bigda's and Ms. Schwartzberg's classrooms respectively. Ms. Cara Daly supervises HWC. We understand that students have sports, music lessons and clubs after school. If students are not enrolled in these activities, they must leave the building.
  • LUNCH CARDS. Many middle school students are losing their lunch cards or leaving them elsewhere everyday. Our secretary, Tracey LeGendre, has made over 100 copies and is asked for more each week. Although first lunches remain free of charge this year, students must scan their cards so we can provide enough food each week. Students without cards hold up the lines and students complain about how long they wait for food. Please remind students to take their cards to school everyday.

I understand that most of our students did not need to hear these messages. The number of students engaging in this behavior is not large, but anyone can be a victim. I always apologize to those who must sit through these discussions, but the message is still important.

Sixth graders were not included in this meeting. I have not had as many concerns in this grade. They do not all have phones, but there have been some recent events that I will address.

Good News: Our 8th grade students will be attending an Elective Presentation on Wednesday, February 15th at BHS. This is one of the first events in the our transition planning for high school. Please fill out this Google Permission Form if you have not yet done so.

We have also started planning exciting fields trips for our 7th and 8th grade students that will be happening this spring. It is our goal to take every student on these trips. However, we need to be confident that students can be well-behaved and responsible when we take them off campus. Stay tuned for more information regarding field trips.

Important Dates

  • Wednesday, February 1st: First Day of Black History Month
  • Friday, February 3rd: K-5 Progress Reports Published on Aspen Parent Portal
  • Friday, February 3rd: 6-8 Report Cards Published on Aspen Parent Portal
  • February Break: Monday 2/20- Friday 2/24