Bryan Middle School

2016-2017 Bear Bytes August/September Newsletter

Mission Statement and School Motto

Our mission at Bryan Middle School is to create high school readiness through a rigorous and respectful learning environment.

Our motto at Bryan Middle School is BEAR P.R.I.D.E. Peers Respecting Individuality, Diversity, and Excellence,

Principal's Message

We are off to a super start to the 2016-2017 school year. It's hard to believe that our first quarter is coming to an end soon. We opened our school year with 825 students in 7th and 8th grade. Our enrollment has continued to grow for the past several years, which we are proud of.

We have several new and exciting opportunities ahead of us that we want to share. First of all, we are beginning the process of becoming a certified Leader In Me school. As we move that direction, our focus will be on providing leadership opportunities for our students in all that we do. We will continue to focus on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey as we develop leadership skills with our students. We are excited to develop student led service learning projects and club time within our CUBS LEAD time each day. This will provide opportunities for all of our students to participate in an activity that they are personally connected and interested in.

In addition, we are moving toward Student Led Parent Conferences this year. These student led conferences will be held on Tuesday, October 18 from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, October 20 from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Our students will be sharing what they have learned, what they could improve upon, and what their goals are for the remainder of the semester. Our teachers will be close by to assist and answer any questions you may have. We want our students to be able to demonstrate ownership in their learning and student led conferences help them to do that.

We are also looking forward to having a school where computers and electronic devices are part of every classroom. We are discussing how that will look within our building and those additional computers and tablets will be arriving as early as this school year.

We will begin to discuss and plan for our upcoming renovation projects. The voters of Omaha approved a $421 million dollar school improvement bond in 2014. Bryan Middle will receive nearly $20 million dollars in capital improvements and updates. These projects are projected to start in the summer of 2017 and continue into the 2017-2018 school year. We look forward to this exciting time for our school community.

Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and our school website for the latest updates on what is happening within our school. We post updates daily and love to share all of the positives that our staff and students are involved in. You can follow us on Twitter @OPS_BryanMiddle or through our website Our Twitter posts link directly to our Facebook page as well. Keep up to date with all of the exciting things happening.

As you can see, we are excited about what is ahead of us this school year. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns throughout the year. My phone number is 402-557-4105 or by email at


Darren Rasmussen

Go Bears!

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Counseling Department

We know that students who attend school regularly are more involved, maintain healthy friendships, earn higher test scores, feel safer and are more likely to graduate and attend college. Therefore, Counselors are focusing on increasing daily attendance this year. We have several incentives in place. Students who were here every day, all day in August were treated to a free ice cream sandwich at lunch. This sweet reward for monthly perfect attendance will continue throughout the school year. Counselors have also introduced a friendly competition between teams. Each month, the team with the highest percentage daily attendance will earn bragging rights and the attendance trophy will be housed in that team’s social studies classroom. Congratulations to the 7A and 8A teams for winning in August!

Counselors are also visiting 7th and 8th grade classrooms and conducting classroom guidance lessons this month, and we will continue to do so throughout the remainder of the semester. This is a great way for counselors to get to know our new 7th grade students as well as talk about some important topics such as stress and time management, personal strengths, careers, friendship and boundaries.

Have a great year,

Ms. Doohen (7B and 8B teams), Mr. Hobbs (7A and 8A teams) and Mrs. Ryan (7C and 8C teams)

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Library - Mrs. Raszler

The BMS Library is open before and after school each day for checkouts! We also have after school hours available for students who need help with a project or just need some time on the computer. On Tuesdays and Thursdays it is open until 5:00 (students can stay for the late bus). Tuesdays we are open until 4:30.

Library after school programs are also underway! Students can stop by the library for more information. Here are the meeting times:

Chess and Games Club - Tuesdays from 3:15 to 5:00

Library Advisory - Wednesdays from 3:15 to 4:30

Comic Book Manga Club - Thursdays from 3:15 to 4:30

Finally, don't forget the OPS partnership with Common Sense Media. It is a great resource for our families that gives information about helping your children navigate the world online safely. Go to for more information.

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School Health

All 7th grade students are required to have current health physical on file from their Physician. If your child has not obtained one yet, please do so as soon as possible and provide a copy to the school nurse. Please keep a copy for your own records. All physicals must be turned in by November 1.

According to the State requirements 7th grade students will have vision, audio, height, weight and oral screenings. The school nurse may do additional screenings for students whose physical forms did not supply information in all of these areas, or if the student is reporting difficulty in any of these areas. Please call Mrs. Arnold-School Nurse at 557-4115 if you have any questions.

It won’t be long and the cold and flu season will be upon us. Here are a few suggestions to keep you and your family healthy. Please go over these healthy suggestions with your child. 1) Wash your hands frequently, always before food preparation and eating, after restroom use, after playing outside and with pets. Good hand washing is the best defense against illness. 2) Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 3) Stay home when you are sick, and keep your child home if he/she is ill. 4) Cover your mouth/nose when coughing or sneezing. If your hands are used to cover your mouth make sure you wash them immediately. 5) Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth to prevent germs from entering your body.

Think ahead….our Midwest winters can be brutal. Please make sure your child is dressed appropriately with a warm coat, hat, gloves/mittens, socks, etc. Layers of clothing also work well to keep a child warm. Frostbite can set in, in a matter of minutes if a child is not properly dressed and is exposed to freezing temperatures.

Gifted and Talented Education

Competition groups are off to a great start! Quiz Bowl went to their first meet today, playing teams from Lewis and Clark, Norris and Morton Middle Schools.

The SMP team is getting close to selecting a project for this year. The students will learn about architecture and engineering, improve their writing and public speaking skills, and gain experience in working with a team.

Twelve students are studying African American History, preparing for the February competition against other middle schools in the greater Omaha area.

Bryan Middle Activities

Craft Fair

Bryan Middle School's Craft Fair is Saturday, October 22 from 9:00am to 2:00pm with $1.00 admission. There will be a bake sale as well. Please come and support Bryan Middle!

Academic and Non-Academic clubs are starting. Students can listen to announcements to find out the time and location of each activity. Here’s a list of a few that have already begun:

  • Robotics Club

  • Science Olympiad

  • Library Clubs

  • TRIO Program (Additional Academic Courses For Students)

  • Art Club

  • Student Council

  • National Junior Honor Society

We strongly encourage students to become involved in activities outside the regular academic day. Research shows students who participate in extracurricular activities achieve higher academic marks and display a more positive attitude towards school, peers, and adults.

Bryan Middle Athletics

Fall Sports

Football, Volleyball, and Cross Country are practicing hard and competitions began the week of September 1st. All competitions will begin at 3:10p.m. and the entry fee is $2.00 for adults. As I write this letter, I’m amazed at how well our student-athletes have performed inside and outside the classroom this year. Be sure to catch the action before the season ends! Football, Volleyball, and Cross Country teams will have their City Final competitions the week of October 17th.

Practices for Boys Basketball and Girls Swimming will begin the week of October 17th. If you have a question about the location of an upcoming game or contest, you can go to the Bryan Middle School website under EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES and look for ATHLETICS. Hope to see you out there!

Activity Cards

Activity Cards allow students to attend an infinite number of athletic contests, but also it is a prerequisite for extracurricular participation. Students who choose to become involved with a club or sport will be required to have an Activity Card. The cost for an Activity Card is $15.00. A fee waiver can be obtained for qualifying students based on lunch pay status. Please direct any inquiries to the office at 402.557.4107

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School Recognitions

September Leaders of the Month

Emma C. (7A), Bryan M. (7A), Samira Z. (7B), Cristian R. (7B), Jordan V. (7C), Luisham G. (7C), Rigo R. (8A), Isabel C. (8A), Gabriel A. (8B), Destiny S. (8B), Odol O. (8C), Yazminn C. (8C), Cassandra O. (ACP), and Daisy R. (ACP)

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Team 7A Panda Bears

Mrs. Palmquist: Language Arts classes this semester we have begun to work on basic writing skills. We are working with our basic writing skills as we read the novel So B. It by Sarah Weeks. We are working on vocabulary, character logs, short answer responses and summaries. We have learned how to work successfully in small groups as well as on our own. It has been a busy first semester.

Mr. Johnson: Science Class is currently studying the "Flow of Energy in Ecosystems". We have covered the levels of organization in ecosystems and will take a Quiz over the terms learned on Friday for A Day students and on Monday for B Day students. We will begin studying Populations after the Quiz.

Mr. Rutherford: Social Studies classes began the year looking at the 5 Themes of Geography. This leads in to looking at the culture and geography relationship in Southwest Asia (the Middle East). While looking at this region we will also complete the first CBA (district required test) at the end of the unit.

Mr. Coil: In Human Growth class we have been practicing effective communication habits, refusal skills, and goal setting. Students have been practicing role playing skits to demonstrate how to say no in pressure situations.

Ms. Gallagher: In P.E. class we started off the year with rip-flag, matball, and speedball. Now we are moving on into the fitness tests and getting the kids familiar with those.

Mrs. Golka: In math class we are working on ratios, rates, unit rates, proportional relationships, and conversions between fractions, decimals, and percents. Students are using an interactive notebook in class to keep notes organized and neat. We talked about how math is everywhere in the world and students brought in items from home for our Math Wall.

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Team 7B Sun Bears

Counseling: Ms. Doohen: My name is Sarah Doohen, and I am the counselor for the 7B and 8B teams. This is my 15th year working at Bryan Middle School, and I am excited to get to know all the new 7th grade students. If you need assistance or have any concerns you may reach me by calling my office phone number which is 402-557-4111. I am also reachable by email: I look forward to a great 2016-2017 school year! #7bsunbearsrock

Language Arts: Ms. Donaldson: Welcome to Sun Bear Language Arts! Students are learning how to write a personal narrative by using the writing process. Currently, we are brainstorming and outlining events about our first day of seventh grade! Soon we will learn Cornell Note-making, writing summary topic sentences (IVF), and summary paragraphs. 7th graders have done an awesome job of bringing their planners, and recording their classroom’s learning goals in them! #seeyouatconferences

Math: Ms. Dhoritey: Welcome! It’s a brand new year of awesome math class! This quarter we will be going over the first two units in our curriculum which include proportions, percentages, conversions, and integers. We will be learning how to compare fractions, convert fractions and decimals into percents, and use negative numbers. Let’s have a great year! #yourbrainismadeformath

Reading: Mrs. Friedrichsen: In 21st Century Literacy, we just finished up Genres of Fiction and are working on the root, graph, and the prefixes for not like non-, ir-, in-, I'm-, and il-. Students are making graffiti art to tie in with the meaning of the root graph! Students are enjoying the use of graphic organizers in their interactive notebooks. We are also finishing up Map testing now. #keeponreading

Science: Ms. Nelson: I am the Sun Bear science teacher! The first topic we study is ecology, which is all about living things and their environment. Then we study cells before moving to the human body systems. I'm enjoying my second year at Bryan Middle School! #7bhaschemistry

Social Studies: Ms. Fox: I'm the Social Studies teacher for 7B. This is my fourth year teaching at Bryan Middle. I also coach Volleyball and Drill Team. This semester my students are lucky to have a student teacher in Social Studies as well, Ms. Walker. We are very excited for the school year and look forward to getting to know you and your student. #bmsbearpride

Special Education: Ms. Graham: I am Ms. Graham. This is my first year at Bryan Middle, and I am the Special Education Resource teacher for the 7B team. I provide support for students in language arts and math 7. All teachers collaborate with me to meet each student's special needs. #evryonecansucceed

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Team 7C Koala Bears

Mrs. Brower- 7th grade art classes have been very busy this year. They created imaginary creatures out of clay. We are all excited to use the new clay kiln as this is a new addition to Bryan Middle School. The students are currently designing a folder cover to store their work as we begin the drawing skills unit.

Mrs. Clark- My name is Mrs. Clark, and this is my 4th year at Bryan Middle School as the 7C science teacher. In Science, we are studying the environment and working on projects where the students design something to be built such as a restaurant. Students are required to describe how that building will affect the ecosystem. This will help give them an idea about how changing the environment can be a good and bad thing.

Mr. Fleming- In Language Arts, students have been using a variety of writing styles to connect their lives to the stories that we have read in class. We are beginning to focus on summarizing short texts and improving our word choice in descriptive writing.

Ms. Pedersen- In Social Studies, we are off to a great start to the year by first studying culture. Next we are moving into studying geography, and then Southwest Asia.

Mr. Petersen- I teach PE, Human Growth, and Adaptive PE. My classes in Human Growth have been talking about Bullying, Goals, Self-Identity, and Decision Making. We will be reviewing Social Media, Relationships, and Communication next. For PE we are starting Fitness Testing and Speedball. After those are done we will start playing Soccer and LaCrosse.

Mrs. Rosario- In the first quarter of Reading 21st Century Literature, we have focused on the topic of family. We have defined family in different ways, compared familial expectations based on culture and birth order, and we will soon be evaluating how families deal with problems. Through our literature we also strengthen our knowledge of text features and story elements in order to set a purpose and better comprehend our text.

Ms. Tate- Hello! My name is Ms. Monique Tate and this is my second year here at Bryan Middle School. I have really enjoyed working with the students thus far and continue to look forward to seeing them grow. I am the resource teacher for team 7C and I co- teach in the classes of Language Arts and Pre- Algebra. Currently, in Language Arts, our classes are working on I-V-F's (Identify- Verb- Finish the thought) to learn how to summarize different pieces of work. We just finished our unit on adjectives. In Math, our classes are learning critical thinking skills in relation to proportions. My students have been working really hard so far and I am excited to witness their growth!

Ms. Triplett- In Math 7, we are studying Proportions, Percentages, and Conversions. This is a great opportunity to help your student to figure how much to give as a tip, compute sales tax, find markups and determine discounts. By understanding these concepts, your student will become a savvy consumer.

Mrs. Williams- In Reading, we have finished discovering the different fiction genres and will immerse ourselves in text features and text structures. Honors will dive into our literature circles with a variety of books that will challenge our perspective on persevering.

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Team 8A Nanooks

Mr. Stessman: In 8A Language Arts students are working on text dependent analysis. Students must read different selections and answer questions with support from the text. We are also identifying different types of characters and conflict within stories. As October approaches we are also preparing to read two different novels, Shadow Club and Touching Spirit Bear.

Mrs. Alfieri: 8th Grade Chorus has been a GREAT place to be first quarter! We are learning a lot and working hard. We are covering basic musical literacy concepts such as pitch recognition and rhythm recognition as well as learning to work with our own singing ranges while listening to blend and harmonize. We are singing songs from different cultures and in several different languages including Latin, Spanish and Swahili! The students have been doing a great job, and it really has been a fantastic start to the year.

Mr. Gall: In 8A Social Studies, we are studying the beginning of the United States. We will be going from the Revolutionary War to the Constitution in Unit 1. Unit 2 will be totally about the Constitution. Quiz your son/daughter about the branches of the government and their jobs. "What is Congress?" is a question I'll be asking many times until the end of Unit 2!

Ms. Rogers: In 8A Science students are currently learning to use measurement tools such as graduated cylinders and triple beam balances. These tools will aid us in lab work throughout the school year. Lab work will be difficult to complete if students have not turned in their signed lab contracts. Parents please make sure your child has returned a signed science lab contract and syllabus. Students can pick up a new one from me, Ms. Rogers, if needed.

Mrs. Goltl: ESL A and B classes have been working hard reading and writing with the LLI literacy program. LLI lessons provide daily opportunity to read new texts and increase fluency through oral rereading of texts. Each lesson is also designed to expand vocabulary and develop oral language. Students receive instruction in comprehension as well as word skills.

Mrs. Goltl: ESL Transitions students are creating foldable representations of the QAR (Question Answer Relationships) reading strategy. The strategy is used after reading to increase comprehension and questioning skills. QAR teaches students how to decipher what types of questions they are being asked and where to find the answers to them.

Mrs. Hoffmann: In 8A Pre-Algebra we just finished our Unit 0 review of content students learned in previous years, and now we are in Unit 1 where students learn about different types of numbers and what they are useful for. Encourage your student to study for the Unit 1 Test coming up soon and to complete and turn in the Scientific Notation Book as the project for this unit! In October we’ll start Unit 2 which is a foundation for learning Algebra next year, so students will need to make sure they are giving their best effort in class and completing their homework assignments to practice new skills each week.

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Team 8B Polar Bears - Be Exceptional

The school year has gotten off to a great start and we love working with all of your students! Here are just a few of the fabulous things happening in some 8B classrooms!!

Mr. Gass (math) - Welcome back to a new year at Bryan Middle School! This year in Pre-Algebra, we are covering a ton of interesting material. Right now we are finishing up our review unit on Integers, Decimals, and Fractions. After we finish Unit 0, we will begin unit 1, which has to do with the number system. Following that we will start introducing techniques students will use in algebra and beyond. I look forward to another great year with these students.

Mr. Pritchett-Polar Bear Science is off and running with our Chemistry Unit. Scientists have practiced measuring and lab safety and now are finding the differences in the properties of matter. They will be using clues to see if matter will have a physical or chemical change to stay the same or make something new. We are writing lab reports showing the steps to the scientific method and will be in chemistry lab stations to practice our skills.

Mr. Rothe- Hello and welcome to 8B Social Studies! We are off to a great start examining history and learning to think like historians. During the first quarter we are going to cover topics such as causes of the Revolutionary War, The Revolutionary War, and finally we will look at creating our Constitution and setting up our government. Along our journey of the past, students will create their own laws of the classroom and set up a classroom government. I look forward to having your student in my classroom – Go Polar Bears!!!!

Mrs. Silliman (Language Arts)-We have been off to a great start this quarter in 8th grade language arts! We have been reading The Giver and just took our first quiz. On A days, students have been comparing the novel to the film and they have been doing a terrific job with their analyses! On B days, students have participated in a number of activities and discussions, taking a deeper look into the meaning and purpose of the story and its characters.

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Team 8C Grizzly Bears

Mrs. Stowe: My students are learning about America's war for independence all the way back in 1776! We have re-created battles, had a visit from Thomas Jefferson, and now are rounding out our learning with designing a memorial for a Revolutionary War battle. We will be creating story cubes for our summative assignment and our next unit is the Constitution! We will learn about the government, its parts, and the rights American people have.

Mrs. Holguin: Students have been working very hard this quarter already. We have completed a unit and already halfway through another. We are currently learning about scientific notation, perfect squares, square roots, and number classifications. Students receive one homework assignment a week. Please encourage them to get them turned in on time and redo their assignments if necessary. Families, we use ClassDojo in math class. If you do not know what that is or still need to get signed up, please contact me ASAP. It is the best way to get additional practice resources for the unit, communicate with me, and see how your student is behaving in class. Thanks so much!

Mr. Grinvalds: Hello, my name is Alan Grinvalds and I am the Language Arts teacher for 8C. We are working on a variety of things for the first quarter. We are learning the parts of speech, the parts of a paragraph, and the characteristics of a character in a short story. We are also writing sentences and paragraphs.

Mrs. Mihai: I cannot believe we are almost at the end of the first quarter. In 8C science, we are currently working on a scientific inquiry unit. We are finishing up a lab that we did about personality colors of the teachers and students at Bryan Middle. The students made observations of their teachers and inferred what personality color they were with evidence to support their inferences. The students collected, graphed and analyzed the data in order to make a hypothesis about what personality color the next new student and new teacher would have based on the data collected. It is exciting to the students using their science skills as they study the world around them. We will be discussing lab safety and then moving into our "Matter" unit. Please remind the students to bring a pencil or pen to class everyday, so they can complete their work. Hope to see you at Parent-Teacher conferences.

Mr. Wiederholt: The 7th Grade Tech and Living classes are starting their 2nd rotation next week. We have 17 modules covering things like Robotics, Engineering Bridges, Sewing, Cooking, CNC (Computer Numerical Control)machines, Flight, Agriculture,Home Makeover etc. Two students operate a module for about a week and a half then rotate to another module with different partners. They have also been working on % and decimal math problems. We will switch to vocabulary words this rotation.

Mr. Semar: Bryan Bands and Orchestras are starting strong. We had a great 8th Grade Band Night last week at the BHS Football Game and each ensemble is exploring new notes, rhythms, and we're having a ton of fun learning new songs together!

Mrs. Woodworth: 8th grade Technology and Living is off to a great start! We are starting our second rotation in the modules. We finished learning about the history of Oreos and we are back to the modules. I look forward to a great semester!

Mrs. Woodworth: 7th grade Human Growth and Development is off and busy. We are starting our unit on peer pressure and completing our peer pressure games. We have already studied friendship and families. I look forward to a great semester of Human Growth!

Mrs. Woodworth: Crazy Cooks will be starting on October 4 after school from 3:20 to 4:45. Any questions please see Mrs. Woodworth!

Ms. Baker: Reading Skills 7A has been working on establishing procedures and routines. They completed a unit on genre and are moving onto ACE text evidence strategies, using context clues, and second quarter will be spent working on Reciprocal Teaching strategies.

Ms. Baker: Reading Skills 8A has also been working on establishing procedures and routines. They completed a unit on genre and are review ACE text evidence strategies, using context clues, and Reciprocal teaching. During second quarter we will be doing literature circles using graphic novels.

Mrs. Clements: The 7th and 8th grade Reading Skills B students have been working hard with several tests at the beginning of the year to help get them started on the right track! We just finished working with story elements in a narrative text (fiction), and are moving on to different genres of fiction.

Mrs. Harris: Bonjour and Hola! The Spanish, French, and FLEX classes have been busy working on the alphabet, days and months, numbers, colors, greetings, and telling time in Spanish and French. French classes have just taken their Introduction Unit Test and Spanish will wrap up their Intro Unit in about 2 weeks. The Spanish classes will then do a project about Day of the Dead and French will research a French speaking country and complete a Power Point. The FLEX class will be creating Dream Houses and labeling those in French. Thanks to all my students for a fantastic start to the school year!! Keep up the great work!!!

Mrs. Ruis: In Introduction to Careers and Technology, we are discussing how the decisions we are making today can affect our future. We will begin focusing on our talents and interests soon, connecting those talents and interests to possible career pathways for students' futures.

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Looking Ahead

Student Led Conferences:

  • Tuesday, October 18th: 3:30 to 7:30pm
  • Thursday, October 20th: 12:30 to 6:30pm

NO SCHOOL: Friday, October 21st

CRAFT FAIR: Saturday, October 22 from 9-2. $1.00 admission.