Bryan Middle School

2017-2018 Bear Bytes November/December 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 have reached the mid-point of our school year and it has gone by quickly. We want to thank our students, parents, and staff for making this first semester a wonderful one! This on-line newsletter is designed to highlight just a few of the great things that are happening within our school in the past quarter. This newsletter is produced quarterly and we hope that you find it easy and enjoyable to read.

Our building renovation is going to begin in the coming weeks with temporary classrooms added to our auditorium space. As a result, we will be using our gymnasium and cafeteria for future performances and assemblies. We will begin to see preparations made for staging areas for materials and fencing for our renovation. Construction will really pick up this summer, therefore we will not be providing summer enrichment activities at Bryan Middle this year. We are planning some transition activities for our incoming 7th grade students prior to the 2017-2018 school year. Construction and renovation is expected to be completed by August of 2019. This will result in nearly $14 million dollars worth of enhancements and capital improvements to our campus, including a Boys and Girls Club Teen Center addition. We will make sure everyone is informed of our progress throughout.

For years and years, our school has used a variety of different logos and brand images. We are excited to share that we have worked with a graphic design company to create our own, unique brand images. We have included one of the images seen below. This has been a long time coming and now we are One Bear, One Brand, and One Bryan Middle! We will be updating our spirit wear and images throughout our school moving forward.

As winter is upon us, we are going to see some inclement weather sooner or later. School closings will be communicated through the local media outlets and district auto phone messages will be sent home. Please pay attention to the local media television stations when the weather impacts our roadways.

As you will see within this newsletter, each of our teams has provided an update on the happenings within each of our content areas. We have also included some snapshots of those team classrooms. We are constantly updating our school website and provide daily tweets on our Twitter page. We look forward to a rewarding second semester. Feel free to give me a call with any questions or concerns at 402-557-4105.

Wishing all of you a safe and happy holiday season.


Darren Rasmussen


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Counseling Department

For our 8th Grade students, it is time to begin the high school selection process. On Friday, December 15th, students will receive a packet of high school selection information and watch a video introducing each of the OPS high schools. Students will then have a month to attend high school open houses, learn about the different schools, research the various programs they offer, discuss options with family members and decide which school(s) he/she would like to attend. High school selection applications will be distributed to 8th graders on Tuesday, January 16th. ALL students are required to fill out and return a high school selection form even if they want to attend a school in a different district or plan to attend their home attendance school. On-time completion of the selection form is very important for transportation eligibility. A parent/guardian must sign the form and fill out the section on socioeconomic status. Students can select up to 3 schools, a 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice. High school selection forms are due to Bryan Middle School by MONDAY, JANUARY 22nd. Students will receive a letter in mid February regarding high school placement. Once placement decisions have been made, high schools will conduct orientation and registration on our campus.

We will register our current 7th grade students for 8th grade during conferences on Thursday, February 15th. Please be sure to attend to select classes for next school year.

Finally, if you know a current 6th grader who will be attending Bryan Middle for the 2018-19 school year, registration will take place on Thursday, April 5th and Saturday, April 7.

Mrs. Suhr, Counselor for Teams 7A and 8A,, (402) 557-4110

Ms. Doohen, Counselor for Teams 7B and 8B,, (402) 557-4111

Mrs. Ryan, Counselor for Teams 7C and 8C,, (402) 557-4112

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Library - Mrs. Raszler

The Omaha Public Schools has a TON of great library resources available to our students and their families. Here are my top picks:

1 – Common Sense Media – The Omaha Public Schools has a partnership with Common Sense Media that provides educational resources for families on digital citizenship, internet safety, and information literacy. It is also a great place to go for parent reviews of movies, music, websites, and games. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter or go to the OPS district website parent resources tab for more information.

2 – Database Subscriptions – OPS subscribes to a number of databases that students have access to 24 hours a day to help with research and homework. These include Britannica School, CultureGrams, Ebsco Host, and Biography Resource Center! Students DO need passwords to log in if they are outside of the school network. See Mrs. Raszler in the library for information.

3 – Ebooks – OPS is now providing Ebooks that can be checked out by students through Overdrive. The information on how to checkout as well as the link to the website is available on Mrs. Raszler’s Library Page which you can access from the Bryan Middle Home Page or at

Once again, thanks to all the families that have ordered through Scholastic Book orders this year! For every dollar spent we earn points for free books for the library. Book order forms are ALWAYS available in the library. Keep reading!

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School Health Information from Ms. Soto

Health Notes

Asthma Action Plans

If your child has asthma – even if they haven’t had symptoms in months or years – it is very important to submit an Asthma Action Plan (AAP) to the school nurse every year. If your child experiences difficulty breathing without a current AAP on file, the school nurse must abide by Rule 59. This states that an ambulance must be called and an Epipen and nebulized albuterol must be administered.

Sick Days

Students will be sent home and given a medically excused absence for the following symptoms: temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, witnessed active vomiting, uncontrollable diarrhea, and rash of unknown cause. If your child is experiencing any of those symptoms in the morning, please keep them home from school and notify attendance.

Medications at School:

It is OPS policy that a doctor’s order and parent permission slip must be submitted for students to have any type of medication at school, including over-the-counter medications. Students are not to carry medications with them or keep them in their locker. They are to be maintained in the health office and administered by the school nurse.

Please call Anita Soto, RN if you have any questions. 402-557-4115

Gifted and Talented Education

Mrs. Hamilton: GATE activities are fun! The Quiz Bowl team went to Saturday meets at Norris Middle School and Bryan High School. The SMP team is designing an outdoor shelter for Mater Filius, a maternity home in our community. 7th grade Scholars took the Gallup Strengthsfinder survey and then went to a workshop to help them understand their personality strengths and how to use them in their everyday lives. Upcoming events are the fall Poetry Slam, Think Tank, and the all-school spelling and geography bees.

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Bryan Middle Activities and Athletics

Thank you to all the student-athletes, coaches, volunteers, staff members and parents for their involvement with our first sports season.

Several students participated in our fall sports; cross country, football, and volleyball this year. Besides learning the necessary skills particular to each sport, students experienced teamwork and sportsmanship which are essential life skills, and hopefully made some new friends along the way!

Congratulations to our Cross Country Team who had several personal and team bests this year.

Boys Basketball and Girls Swimming are currently now underway! We hope to see you at each and every contest! For all home contests, you may enter through our south entrance (42nd & Giles) or our southeast entrance (42nd Street). Admission costs for adults is $2.00 and sport schedules can be downloaded or reviewed on our website.

Girls Basketball, Wrestling, and Boys Swimming will begin the 2nd week of January.

BMS Activities are in full swing! Many clubs are currently meeting and are rearing up for competition, projects, or enrichment.

If you are seeking additional information regarding extra-curricular opportunities, please check out our Athletics & Activities webpage:

Now is the time to find something to get involved with! There is something for everyone!


Mr. Taylor

Assistant Principal

Activity Director


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NWEA/MAP Testing Coming Up in January/February 2018

Students will be taking their second round of the NWEA/MAP assessment in January and February 2018. Tests will be administered in English Language Arts (reading), science, and math classes. The goal of the NWEA/MAP is growth; we want all students to show improvement during their winter assessments from their fall assessments. For more information about the NWEA/MAP test, please look at the below video:

OPS MAP testing video for parents

Unified Arts Team

Mrs. Woodworth (Tech and Living/Human Growth):

Mr. Dryden (Tech and Living): Tech and Living has been working on short poems for bell work and doing well on their modules.
Mrs. Harris (French/Spanish/Flex): The French classes have been busy working on ER verbs in French and learning about the similarities and differences between French and American schools. The Spanish classes are wrapping up Chapter 2 with likes and dislikes and describing people. It has been an outstanding 1st semester!
Mr. Izquerido-Ruiz (Spanish/Spanish for Native Speakers): The class Spanish 1 for Spanish speakers has the proposal to allow the students to improve their Spanish reading and writing skills. To achieve this objective, I have begun this class motivating the students to start to practice reading of phonemes and short tales, and to write stories or viewpoints of a paragraph. With these activities, I could identify some situations which allowed me to modify my class plan. An important thing that I discovered, was that although most of them think that they don't know how to write in Spanish, the fact is that they have acquired the Spanish language in your home, and they need to gain confidence to start to write. Therefore, a key of my plan is to allow them to be more confident to read and write in Spanish.
Ms. Gallagher (Physical Education): In P.E. the girls are finishing up the basketball unit. The next two weeks, the girls and boys will be doing their last units of swimming and floor hockey.
Mrs. Ruis : Careers- Students are finishing up the semester by researching classes that are offered in high school that will prepare them for their chosen careers.

Computer Applications – Students are continuing to explore the functions of the tabs in Microsoft Word and creating unique documents using icons they have discovered through the semester.
Mrs. Fefee (Art 8):

Ms. Brower (Art 7): Seventh grade art classes just finished their culture quilt. Students are now learning how to improve their drawing skills.

Mrs. Clements (Reading Skills): Reading Skills A & B classes spent time learning about 9/11 using a great interactive website. We have finished with our assessments and are on to learning about reciprocal teaching (predicting, clarifying, questioning, and summarizing).
Mrs. McDonald (Chorus/Music Tech):

In Music Tech 1, classes are learning piano fundamentals and starting to read piano music and create digital music on the computer.

In Music Tech 2, classes are done reviewing and moving into new rhythms and software skills to create their first project.

In Chorus, classes are working on sight-reading skills and preparing music for the upcoming concerts.

Mrs. Williams (English Language Arts): Classes are finishing up their current unit by diving into summary presentations using our new technology! Student will record their presentation on their laptop and submit it through teams.

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Team 7A Panda Bears

The Computer Apps semester is winding down and the students have accomplished so much. The seventh graders will be finishing up their unit on Microsoft Word and Coding. The eighth graders have complete their unit on Microsoft Excel and will be finishing up their CEO Projects and Coding. It has been a great semester!

Social Studies students used the last 3 weeks of first semester researching, creating and presenting information on culture, the environment, and history in African countries. Presentations were enjoyable to watch. The final week students completed the final CBA (Curriculum Based Assessment) of the semester as well. Beginning after break we start looking at Government and Economics in South and East Asia. I hope you all have a great break!

Mr. Rutherford

In Science class, we are finishing up on the Human Body unit. We will be working on our Summative Common Assessment for the next week. When we come back from winter break, we will be reviewing the Human Body, then moving on to Heredity.

In Language Arts class, we have finished our presentations and our Argumentative essays. We are ending our semester with A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Students will be working on a quiz and an essay for this unit.

We welcome the new addition to the Golka family and wish her the best while she is on maternity leave.

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Team 7B Sun Bears

English Language Arts: Ms. Donaldson

Students recently completed I Am poems, and competed in-class poetry slams! Everyone did a fantastic job of showcasing their writing and speaking skills! Currently, we are focused on summarizing, citing textual evidence, story elements, and elements of a drama. In the works: a summary presentation.

English Language Arts: Mrs. Friedrichsen

We are well into Collection's 2 with the theme Perception and Reality. Throughout the unit, we have read different stories focusing on theme, as well as characterization, visual media, and plot. To end the semester, we will have a summative performance task using skills of summarization through a presentation. We continue to read silently and journal daily using books of choice.

Math: Ms. Dhoritey

Hello! This year has gone so fast. In Math 7, we are working on operations with rational numbers. The students are learning to add, subtract, multiply and divide positive and negative numbers. Honors Pre-Algebra is currently learning about slope. We are learning how to identify and calculate the slope of a line from points, graphs, and data.

Science: Ms. Nelson

We started second quarter in science class with learning about cells. We learned about plant and animal cells and how living things make more cells. Students also used the microscopes to look at different types of cells. Now we are learning about human body systems; specifically what parts make each one up and the system's job in the body. We will end the semester by completing a large project about the different body systems.

Social Studies: Ms. Fox

The second quarter of Social Studies has been focused on the continent of Africa. We have been discussing the incredible diversity of Africa and the story of how modern Africa was shaped through its history.

Mrs. Meyer (Special Education): Mrs. Meyer is out on maternity leave. She will be back January 2018!
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Team 7C Koala Bears

Mr. Fleming: In 2nd quarter, 7C Language Arts students have been reading a variety of selections, including folk tales, poems, and plays. We have continued to work on writing summaries, and have also expanded our focus to persuasive writing. It has been a rewarding year so far, and I'm looking forward to working with these kids for another semester.

Ms. Pedersen: In social studies we have moved into Africa! We will be learning about the colonization by Europeans, the Trans-Atlantic Slave, and Apartheid in South Africa. Students have already spent some time researching an African country of their choice.

Mrs. Salak: In Science we are continuing our study of the human body. Students have explored cells and tissues and are now learning about the various body systems. So far students have learned about the integumentary system(skin), muscular system, and skeletal system. In the next few weeks they will study the respiratory system along with digestive and circulatory systems. They will have the opportunity to view various organs and experience hands on learning!

Mrs. Triplett: Can you believe that the school year is almost half over with? Team 7C students still have a lot of concepts to study still but we are going strong. Team 7C Pre-Algebra students have been practicing their graphing skills in preparation for our unit on equations with two variables. Math 7 students are beginning their Rational Numbers unit. Both Pre-Algebra students and Math 7 students are brushing up on skills they might not have used in a while through a cumulative review at the start of each class in preparation for tests given this winter and in the spring.

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Team 8A Nanooks

What a great semester we have had! Both the 7th and 8th Choirs are sounding awesome - and we're really increasing in confidence. As we move into the 2nd semester, we will continue working on 2 and 3 part harmony while strengthening our individual voices as well. We will continue to work on musical literacy, blending our sounds, unifying our vowel formations and learning how to increase expression in our music through dynamics. We have a lot of musical opportunities available for our students - so get involved and SING!

In 8A Social Studies, we finished the 1st Semester with a Research Project over Westward Expansion. The students chose a topic from the following list: Gold Rush, Trails West, Native American Displacement, Texas Annexation, Mexican-American War, Homestead Act, and Transcontinental Railroad. This was a District project, meaning all 8th graders throughout OPS are assigned this project.

At the start of the 2nd Semester, we will start examining the differences between the North and the South. We will eventually be taking a look at the Causes of the Civil War. By the end of the 3rd Quarter, the topic will be the Civil War.

Students in Mr. Stessman’s Language Arts classes are finishing up a unit on horror. They have read some classic horror tales such as The Monkey’s Paw, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Hand. Next semester students will be moving into a unit that will cover stories and articles related to the Civil War.

In Pre-Algebra we are ending the semester talking about a huge Algebra concept: slope of a line! We will be taking the unit test during the last week of school before Winter Break. When we come back to school 2nd semester we will jump right into the important stuff by taking our winter MAP test to give us a picture of how students will do on the state test in April, as well as what to focus on to raise our scores. Rest up during break and come back ready to do your best!!

In science, 8A students are currently working on the periodic table. We are learning about elements such as Carbon and how it has an atomic number of 6. Students have notes that they should be studying every night for the upcoming test on the periodic table.

In Physical Education classes we just finished weight training and currently are playing floor hockey and swimming.

Happy Holidays!

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Team 8B Polar Bears - Be Exceptional

Ms.Ahl-( ELA)-

Unwind, The Shadow Club, The Compound, or The Maze Runner

Ask your student which one of these books they read. This was for their novel project. Some questions you could ask them:

1. Which character did you like most in the book? Why?

2. What was the problem in the story? Was it solved?

3. Would you recommend this book to someone else? Why or why not?

Mrs.Abbott-( Special Education) Hello, my name is Mrs. Abbott. I am the special education teacher on the 8B team. I co-teach two Pre-Algebra classes and two English/Language Arts classes. Second quarter has been busy for the students in special education. They have been working on writing and reading in English/Language Arts. We are currently studying scary stories and student selected novels. In Pre-Algebra the students are learning how to write expressions and how to write and solve equations, all containing one variable. As always we are learning new things through one-on-one teaching, small groups and in whole groups.

Mrs. Atemnkeng (Reading Skills A and ELA) – This has been an amazing year for your Bryan Middle School 8th graders, so far! In Reading Skills classes we are powering through the Achieve 3000 learning system as well as reading techniques. Our current Unit goes along with their ELA unit of “The Thrill of Horror” and Personal Story Selections. They will be bringing home a student selected book nightly for at least 10 days. In the co-taught ELA classes students are exploring their new Collections textbook and working through the unit called “The Thrill of Horror.” The new collections are full of interactive devices and resources to accelerate the diverse student learner. We have learned that there is so much to the Horror Genre, be sure to ask your student what that means! The students are also finishing up their student selected novels and all of the fun activities that go along with them. Be sure to ask your student what their novel is about or have them read some of it to you!

Mr. Gass (MATH) -Hi, my name is Ryan Gass. I am the Pre-Algebra teacher for the 8B - Polar Bears. In Pre-Algebra, we just finished our unit on one-variable algebra. We learned about solving equations and inequalities. We just started our unit on two-variable algebra, where we are focusing on rates of change and slope. We will be finishing the 3rd unit in a couple of weeks before Winter Break.

Ms. Kelli Robinson- (Social Studies) - In 8B Social Studies, we have been studying Westward Expansion and Manifest Destiny. Manifest Destiny is the belief that most people had in the 1800's that the United States was destined to stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. Students have been working on a research project combining textbook research as well as Primary Source research. Students will use the research they obtained to create a project and identify the potential unintended consequences of Manifest Destiny. Students will be finishing the Fall 2017 semester with an Immigration and Settlement Unit. When students come back from Winter Recess, we will begin the Slavery and Civil War Units.

Mr. Rousek ( Science) - 8B Science students recently finished studying the five phase changes and three states of matter. Due to difficulty in learning and recalling the vocabulary word sublimation, dry ice was brought into the classroom for several demonstrations. This ensured that students were able to visualize and relate the action of sublimation to a real life experience. We are now moving on to the next unit of study in our chemistry unit which will focus on the elements of the periodic table. Students will be studying the most common atoms on the table, and learn about the subatomic particles (Protons, Neutrons, and Electrons) that make up the atoms of our universe.

Mr. Semar ( Music ) - Instrumental Music is off to a great start with some truly excellent musicianship in all ensembles. The Bands and Orchestras at Bryan had spectacular concerts in October and November! Thank you so much for your support of our ensembles. We're working on expanding our skills to present an 8th grade band plus chorus concert on December 21 and a concert for all bands and orchestras on February 8th.

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Team 8C Grizzly Bears

Mr. Collins (Math): In math we have learned how to solve equations using one-step, two-step, and multi-step processes. We've also learned how to find the slope of a line and write equations for lines.

Mrs. Stowe (Social Studies): For the 2nd Quarter we are focused on the expansion of the United States. We looked at why the United States went west and what groups were impacted. We have been focusing on the Native American's and how they were put on reservations. We will be then turning the the Mexican-American War and the relationship between the USA and Mexico. The end of the quarter will be a big project where your student will be researching one of the topics and creating some sort of product to demonstrate their knowledge of the topic. This will count as 3 summative grades. Please contact me with any questions!

Mrs. Mihai (Science): I can't believe that we are nearing the end of the first semester. 8C science students have been working on our inquiry skills, using physical properties to describe an object. We are now exploring States of Matter, a specific example of a physical property of matter and examining why changing states of matter is a physical change. We will end the semester looking at the phenomena of Obleck and its mysterious physical properties. Just a reminder! Please make sure you are bringing a pencil to class and your planner to science class everyday. Have a great holiday.
Mr. Petersen (Physical Education/Human Growth):

Ms. Negrete (ELL):

Mr. Grinvalds (English Language Arts): Language arts is working on Collections unit 2. This is a horror unit. We are working on reading a variety of different stories and using text-based evidence to answer questions. We are also focused on writing paragraphs correctly.

Ms. Baker (English Language Arts/Reading):

Mrs. Pierson (Special Education):

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Looking Ahead

Winter Break: Monday, 12/25/2017 - Tuesday, 1/8/2018. There will be no school for students December 25th through Tuesday, January 8th. Third Quarter begins on Tuesday, January 9th. Students will report to their CUBS LEAD class at the beginning of the day on January 9th to receive their updated class schedule. This will be an "A" Day on our schedule.

All OPS district buildings and offices will be closed December 25-26 and January 1-2.

Tuesday January 9th : 3rd Quarter Begins; Students report to their CUBS LEAD class to start the day at 7:40 a.m.

Monday January 15th: No School Martin Luther King Jr Day

Thursday February 15th: Student Led Conferences 12:30-7:30 p.m. (No School for Students)

Friday February 16th: No School; Teacher Work Day

Monday February 19th: No School; President's Day

Check out the