Spartan Gazette

Indian Mound Middle School

Greetings From Aaron Tarnutzer

The Perfect Family Teacher Conference


Every time I walk into another school I am looking for something I can learn to make IMMS better. I recently had the opportunity to attend Family Teacher Conferences for my 13 year old daughter who is in 8th grade. The experience served as good reminders for me as a Principal and a parent.


At my daughter’s school the expectation is students are to attend the conferences with their parents. Prior to the conference I did my homework as I went online and received an up to date listing of her grades. While I had a good sense of what would be shared at the conference, I was not 100% confident about what I was going to hear. Many of you probably share my fear of the unknown. It only takes a few seconds for me to begin to worry and think to myself, “What if she is having problems with other students that I didn’t know about?” “What if she is not as responsible as she wants me to think she is?” As I have shared with many of you before, my approach to being a Principal and a parent is to always prepare for the worst. Thankfully, it wasn’t necessary to prepare for the worst as I left the conference feeling truly grateful for the educators with whom my daughter gets to spend her weekdays. Here are three quick “take-aways” that are worth sharing:

1. Her teachers care about her. They want her to be successful academically and socially. They want her to feel safe, confident, and comfortable.

2. Her teachers love to teach middle school students.

3. Her teachers want her to be independent. Their goal is to help her become responsible for her part of the learning.


At IMMS, we are busily preparing for our first Family Teacher Conferences of the 2015-16 school year (November 12 and 17, from 4-7). Our conferences are held using an arena style drop-in format with teachers stationed in a common area, such as the gym and cafeteria, and they meet with parents/guardians on a first come first serve basis. Conferences are limited to approximately five minutes per class to avoid parents/guardians from having to wait in line for an extended period of time. Clearly this structure is not perfect. Five minutes his hardly enough time to say, “Hello,” and you can spend a lot of time waiting for those precious five minutes. There are many advantages to this format as well, with the main benefit being that you can meet with all of your child’s teachers. There are a variety of other conference formats that are used in middle schools, such as scheduling conferences with the “homeroom” teacher, student led conferences, and only holding conferences for students identified by teachers. I have been a part of each of these structures as an educator and/or as a parent. I can tell you each of them has benefits and challenges. When I ask my middle school Principal colleagues what they do for conferences I often hear that they are looking to change their structure and often back to something they use to do. Everyone is looking for the structure that will lead to the “Perfect Family Teacher Conference,” but it does not exist. I would love to hear any suggestions you have for a different format you would prefer.


It is not about the structure of the conferences, it is the interaction among adults and students (we love it when they join you) that makes for the perfect conference. As we prepare for the privilege to sit down with you face to face for only a few minutes on November 12 and 17, our goals are to leave you feeling the same three things that I felt:

· They care about our children.

· They love to teach middle school students.

· They want our children to be independent.


I would love it if you take some time after conferences to let me know how we did in pursuit of these goals. Thank you for your involvement in your child’s education!


Aaron Tarnutzer

IMMS Principal

IMMS Assignment Task List

Click here to view the Task List page

Books, Books, Books...Everyone loves BOOKS!!

The Book Fair is back at IMMS and you won't want to miss it. The fair will be set up in the library from November 9th – November 13th. Ms. Neal and Ms. Michels will be in the library to assist students who want to find a great book. Students will have the opportunity to visit the fair and buy books during the school day. New this year, the book fair will only be open for Thursday's evening conferences on November 12th. We will not be open for Tuesday's evening conferences on November 17th. Come in and browse through the great books.


Volunteers are needed to cover shifts during the school days as well as during Thursday's evening conference. Please call Melanie Neal at 838-4575 if you are interested in volunteering or click on the URL below to sign up. It is a fun and easy way to help your school!


https://goo.gl/8Lefeu


Stop by and visit the Book Fair when you come for conferences! Our proceeds will continue to buy books for classroom libraries.

Solo/Ensemble Festival

Local Solo/Ensemble Festival will be here at Indian Mound Middle School on November 18​, 201​5 from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm.


IMMS music students have a long history of participation in the Solo/Ensemble Festival, and this year will be no exception. All students in performing music classes (Band & Choir [7th and 8th Grade only] Orchestra [6th-8th Grade]) will participate in the Local Solo/Ensemble Festival. For specific classroom expectations and requirements, please don't hesitate to contact the teacher for your son/daughter’s class.


Some things to know about Solo/Ensemble

Accompanists are used for all woodwind, brass and string solos; as well as vocal ensembles. Percussion solos do not require accompaniment. The cost for accompaniment is $15.00 per event. Students are encouraged to use their “Music Booster Account” to cover this cost – if the student has at least $15.00 of fund raising money in the account. Payment by check (McFarland Schools) should be given to your child’s teacher no later than November 1​8th. ​


All events will happen in various classrooms in Indian Mound Middle School between 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Each solo or ensemble will be scheduled an 8 minute time slot for performance and clinic session with the teacher we’ve hired to adjudicate the Festival. Teachers will be making the schedule soon, so if your son or daughter has a scheduling need (early, middle, late, etc.), please have all requests to his/her teacher no later than November 6, 2015.


This is a performance; students should prepare (practice at home) their music, dress appropriately, and perform their very best. Also, parents, families and friends are encouraged to attend and hear the student performances. (no matter what your son or daughter might tell you…)


If you have any questions not addressed above (or maybe not addressed clearly enough), please contact your son/daughter’s music teacher as soon as possible.


Joe Hartson, HartsoJ@mcfsd.org (8th Grade Band)

Leanna Hershey, HersheL@mcfsd.org (6-8 Orchestra)

Katrina Lemens, LemenK@mcfsd.org (7-8 Choir)

Brian Vanderbloemen, VanderB@mcfsd.org (7th Grade Band)

Bowls For Hunger

When: Monday, November 23rd from 5:00pm - 7:00pm

Where: MHS Cafeteria

Cost: $11 or $10 with canned good.

With your donation you will receive a ceramic bowl and dinner which includes your choice soup along with a side salad and a dinner roll. Drinks will also be provided. Cost: $11 or $10 with canned good. If you are unable to attend but would still like to make a contribution please contact Sandy Schoen. We will accept either a cash donation or a check made payable to Bowls for Hunger. All proceeds will be donated to the McFarland Food Pantry! For More Information contact: Sandy Schoen 608 838-4500 ext. 4805 SchoenS1@mcfsd.org Questions? Please contact Lindy Wiesmann at 838-4500 ext. 4730 or wiesmal@mcfsd.or

Dining In for Healthy Families Day

December 3rd is "Dining In for Healthy Families" day across the United States. The day is to honor Family and Consumer Sciences founder, Ellen Swallow Richards, who was the first woman to graduate from MIT. December 3rd is the date of her birth. You can sign up for this event and be counted among the thousands who commit to dining in with their families on this day by going to www.aafcs.org/FCSday. We hope you will join AAFCS in this wonderful family event!

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Family meals do more than put food on the table: Benefits of cooking, eating as a family

Make mealtime a family time. If you can get together for meals even a few times a week, family meals mean healthier eating -- and more. For National Nutrition Month®, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages all families to make a commitment to eating more meals together and "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right."

"Research shows that family meals promote healthier eating -- more fruits, vegetables and fiber; less fried food; and often fewer calories," says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Angela Ginn. "This year's National Nutrition Month theme, 'Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right,' reminds families to return to the basics of healthful eating by returning to the family dining table."

"And family meals do much more than put healthy food on the table. Beyond preparing the meal itself, we sometimes forget that mealtimes offer time to talk, listen and build family relationships. And it's a chance for parents to be good role models for healthful eating," Ginn says.

Ginn offers ideas for adding more family meals to any family's routine:

• Start slowly. "However many meals you eat as a family now, add one more to your weekly schedule. If school nights are too hectic for a family dinner, make it a leisurely weekend breakfast or lunch. After a few weeks, add another family meal to your schedule," Ginn says.

• Plan tasty menus together. "Putting together a family meal does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. Let every member of the family choose a favorite item and build simple, delicious meals around them. Even small children can pick a main dish like tacos or pasta, a vegetable like a green salad or cooked carrots and sliced apples or fruit salad for dessert," Ginn says.

• Set the right mood. "Food is just one important part of mealtime. Your table setting can improve the mealtime mood with very little expense: a candle, colored napkins and wipe-clean plastic tablemats for children," Ginn says.

• Talk! "The conversations families have while eating together have a huge impact, as you share experiences and ideas, and pass along family values. Pick topics that are positive and allow everyone to talk. Even toddlers like to discuss topics like 'What is your favorite color?' or 'What made you laugh today?'" Ginn says.

• Turn off the TV, phones and anything else that makes noise. "They create distractions that can throw off any family's mealtime routine," Ginn says. "Declare mealtime a TV- and phone-free zone, except for emergencies, of course. Instead, put on some background music, played at low volume, to add a relaxing atmosphere."

No matter your children's ages, parents and caretakers can find countless resources and a wide range of information about eating right -- all backed by the unequalled expertise of nutrition professionals like registered dietitian nutritionists -- at Kids Eat Right, a joint initiative of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Academy's Foundation. "Kids Eat Right helps families shop smart, cook healthy and eat right," Ginn says.


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Family meals do more than put food on the table: Benefits of cooking, eating as a family." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224092015.htm>.

IMMS Lunch Menu

Click here to view the lunch menu for November

Volunteers Needed for Family Living Sewing Unit

Mrs. Colle is looking for volunteers to help with her 6th grade sewing classes. Sewing takes place the last 6-7 days of each quarter from 7:55am to 9:21am. You do not need to have previous sewing experience, she will be able to train you on whatever needs to be done. Any time you are available to volunteer is extremely appreciated. You also should enjoy working with middle school students! Please contact Mrs. Colle at 838-4500 ext. 4880 or collev@mcfsd.org
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