DISCOVERY MIDDLE SCHOOL NEWSLETTER

September 2019

Dear Discovery Middle School Parents and Community,

As principal of Discovery Middle School, it is my pleasure to welcome everyone back to the school year. We are excited to have students back in the hallways and classrooms, filling them with energy and excitement for learning and socializing with their peers. It is our mission to find ways that every student feels welcomed, connected and a part of our middle school. We are continuing to find opportunities, and intentionally planning learning opportunities, where students strive to build positive relationships that support academic and social growth.


To promote social growth and to provide opportunities for staff and students to interact and learn together, we have implemented a new social skills curriculum. The curriculum is centered in home base, and we use it two days per week to provide students purposeful time to interact with each other and staff. The curriculum is called Second Step and is a middle school focused, interactive curriculum that focuses on topics such as: handling strong emotions, setting and meeting goals, making good decisions, and forging positive relationships—while building a safe, supported learning environment middle schoolers need to succeed. If you get a chance, ask your student about home base discussions!


Walking around the building, visiting with students and staff, and seeing the smiles and excitement reinforces why it is such a pleasure to work in our school community. Being able to work with parents, teachers, and students to support and grow our learners is enjoyable every day. At Discovery, we work hard to provide the needs to Every Student ...Every Day.


Warm Regards,
Matthew Aker

Discovery Middle School principal

MCA Student Reports to Parent/Guardian

MCA Reports from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) will be distributed at fall conferences. Should you have any questions about the report, please contact your student's homebase teacher or Discovery Administration.

Important Dates and Events

October 10

  • Student/Parent/Teacher Conferences 3:30 pm-7:30 pm

October 14

  • Student/Parent/Teacher Conferences 3:30 pm-7:30 pm

October 16

  • Student/Parent/Teacher Conferences 7:30 am-11:30 am
  • No School (Grades 6-8)

October 17-18

  • No School (Grades 6-8)

October 21

  • 7/8 Girls Basketball- Parent/athlete meeting at 5:15 in the aux. gym

October 28

  • 6th In-house Girls Basketball- Parent/athlete meeting at 5:00 in the Media Center

October 24

  • DMS Picture Retake Day

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November 4

  • No School (Grades K-12)

November 7

  • 6/7/8 Orchestra Concert DMS Gym - 7 p.m.

November 11

  • 7-12 Gymnastics
  • 6-12 Nordic Ski -For more info on both of these activities, contact Alexandria Area High School
November 18
  • 6-8 Wrestling

November 25

  • 6-8 Boys Swimming

The Cardinal Way

Discovery Middle School’s Cardinal Way is in its third full year of implementation. Do you know what it’s all about? It is more than just earning Cardinal Way red tickets.


The Cardinal Way interweaves the district’s Code of Conduct to three core areas: Be Ready, Be Respectful and Be Responsible. These core areas were identified four years ago when Discovery Staff committed to developing and implementing a positive behavioral intervention and support framework. At the onset, the vision was developed: to promote a safe and positive environment that supports the academic and social-emotional growth of all students. The goals of the Cardinal Way include having a common language and behavioral expectations amongst all students and staff, developing a school-wide process for encouraging positive behavior and developing a school-wide process for behavior intervention.


At the onset of the year, students were explicitly taught school-wide expectations and they also learned about routines and expectations within each of their classes. Throughout the school year, school-wide and classroom expectations are reinforced and reviewed.


When students receive Cardinal Way red tickets, there is verbal feedback linked to the positive behavioral actions of the student. These red tickets may be used in a variety of ways. This year, additional opportunities to celebrate students and reinforce a positive school culture have been added. We have had surprises at lunchtime to acknowledge great behavior and we are adding grade level raffle drawings.


As a building, staff continues to assess practices with students and is striving to engage them in providing voice to making Discovery a caring “Cardinal Way” learning environment for all. In the upcoming months, we update you on students’ innovative ideas!

Meet Our New Teachers and Dean

Meet the New Teachers to DMS - 2019

Attendance

The importance of regular attendance is crucial to your child’s success here at Discovery Middle School. Having good attendance helps students stay on the path to academic success. This benefits your child socially and provides opportunities for important communications between teachers. At Discovery Middle School we ask you to notify the school if your child is ill or going to be absent. Please review attendance guidelines...


  • Student Absences. . . Parents/guardians are asked to call the office as soon as possible if their child will be absent from school due to illness, family emergencies, etc. If you are calling after hours, please leave a voicemail message. Students must be in school by the beginning of 3rd hour to be eligible to participate in any extra-curricular activities for that day. New this year… Parents are allowed to log onto their ParentVUE to report a child’s absence. The absence must be entered by 9 a.m. the day of with an explanation of why your child will not be attending school for the day.


  • Homework RequestsHomework may be requested once a student has been absent for two or more consecutive school days by calling the office BEFORE 10:00 A.M. Homework can then be picked up in the office anytime between 3:00 P.M. and 4:00 P.M. the same day. Advance homework requests are also available in the office.


  • Appointments (Dentist, Doctor, etc.) during the day… If your child needs to be dismissed anytime during the school day for appointments, meetings, etc. please have them bring a note signed by their parent to the office in the morning when they arrive at school or a parent is welcome to call our attendance secretary at (762-7900) Option #1. Students will receive a building pass which allows them to leave their class at the appropriate time indicated. This procedure avoids interruptions during class time.

DID YOU KNOW?

That Alexandria Public Schools has not asked voters to approve an operating levy increase since 2004? We are currently one of the only school districts in our area without this important source of locally approved funding.



Learn more about our funding request at www.alexschools.org/referendum - and remember to vote November 5th!

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Alexandria Public Schools is asking residents to consider approving a school funding request. If voters approve the request on November 5, the additional funding would help the district:

  • Maintain or reduce class sizes

  • Continue with specialist teachers in elementary, such as music, art and science

  • Expand mental health support

  • Maintain or expand real world work experiences at middle and/or high school


Watch this short video to learn more - and remember to vote on November 5th!


You don’t have to wait until November 5 to vote on Alexandria Public Schools funding request - you can vote early! Early voting takes place at the district office, located in the Woodland Elementary School building, 1410 S. McKay. You can vote Monday-Friday, 7:30am-4:30pm, or during these extended hours:

  • Tuesday, Oct 29, 7:30am-7:00pm

  • Thursday, Oct 31,7:30am-7:00pm

  • Monday, Nov 4, 7:30am-7:00pm

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DISCOVERY MIDDLE SCHOOL

Discovery's mission, as a student centered school of early adolescence, is to prepare all of our students to be successful learners in a technology-based, complex, changing society. This will be accomplished by providing a safe and caring environment where individuality is encouraged, by assisting students in the development of self-worth and responsibility, and by supporting student exploration in academics and recreation.