Mountain West Montessori Newsletter

January 2022

Editor-in-Chief: Ms. Angie, Director

Managing Editor: Ms. Sheri, Assistant Director

Author: Ms. Sheri, Assistant Director

DATES TO REMEMBER

-NO SCHOOL, MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY: Monday, January 17th

- NO SCHOOL,TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Friday, February 25th

- EARLY RELEASE, PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES: Wednesday, March 2nd & Thursday, March 3rd

- NO SCHOOL, TEACHER COMP. DAY: Friday, March 4th

-NO SCHOOL, TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Wednesday, March 16 - Friday, March 18

-NO SCHOOL, SPRING BREAK: Friday, April 15th - Friday, April 22nd

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IMPORTANT UPDATES

Ms. Angie, Principal


Hi Parents,


Two important items for you to be aware of:


Middle School Fees

Each year we update our Middle School fees. Parents are invited to attend the two board meetings in which the fees will be discussed by our MWMA Board of Directors, and are welcome to give any input or feedback. The board meetings will be held:

    • Monday, January 24th @ 5:00 pm in the school library
    • Monday, March 28th @ 6:00 pm in the school library

All parents are welcome to attend!


Parents Right to Know

MWMA receives Title I funds. For more information on what this is, you can listen to our school podcast, “Do You See?”, Episode 27, “Title I Sure is Fun!” which can be found on our website by clicking on the little microphone button in the top righthand corner. As part of Title I, parents have the right to information regarding the qualifications of their child’s teacher and paraprofessional (teaching assistant), including their licensure status. If you would like information regarding your child’s teacher or paraeducator, please email me at ajohnson@mwmacademy.org.


Thanks,

Ms. Angie

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MWMA PODCAST: Episode 36, The Robot Apocalypse


This week Angie and Alisha are joined by Alden Thorpe, computer science specialist at MWMA. In this episode they talk about the benefits of studying computer science at all grade levels and the amazing things that are going on at the school to support computer science instruction.

https://www.mwmacademy.org/podcast/episode/123?episode_number=36


You can also find the podcast by clicking on the tiny microphone in the upper right-hand side of our website https://www.mwmacademy.org/podcast

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Ms. Sheri, Assistant Principal


Over the next few months, I'm excited to share some of the components of the excellent literacy instruction being provided at MWMA and how this instruction is positively impacting students.


Evidence-Based Literacy Instruction: Part1


Instructional decisions are data-driven, multilayered, and take a response to intevention (RtI) approach in order to differentiate and meet students' unique needs. Here are a few of the important steps administration, teachers, teaching assistants, and our reading specialist take in order to meet students where they are.


  • Universal screening: A brief screening measure (Acadience/DIBELS) is administered with all students K - 6 three times a year to help identify those reading on grade level, below grade level or needing advanced instruction.
  • Diagnostics: If students are reading below grade level, diagnostic assessment(s) are administered to identify specific lagging skills and then differentiated instruction can be laser focused to address lagging skills.
  • Frequent progress monitoring: Teachers and our reading specialist use this data to track students’ progress and adjust instruction in a timely manner.
  • Data-based decision making: Administration, assessment director, teachers, and reading specialist meet together regularly to analyze data.
  • Multi-tiered approach: Regular instruction and interventions of increasing levels of intensity are aligned to students’ needs based on data. For example, if a student is reading far below grade level they will recieve Tier I instruction from the regular teacher, and additional intensive Tier 2 intervention from a teaching assistant, and also, the most intensive Tier 3 intervention from our reading specialist.

If you would like to learn more, check out this short video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkK1bT8ls0M. and/or check out the graphic below that describes all three tiers of instructional support.
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EXECUTIVE FUNCTION

Ms. Marianne, School Counselor



Executive function is a term that is used a lot in education, especially in Middle School. Executive functioning is a list of skills that are needed in life and used in every subject. When there is a deficit in these skills many aspects of life become hard or frustrating. Some executive functioning skills that are practiced at school include:


Gathering relevant information: Can your student take notes that include the most important information and leave out all the extra fluff?

Filtering out distractions: Can your student participate successfully in class even if other students are quietly talking or the person behind their seat is tapping their foot?

Assessing situations to determine the best course of action: Can your student adequately understand the consequences of their choices and make good decisions based on the predicted consequences?

Remembering important details: Can your student remember deadlines or instructions for their assignments?

Planning: Can your student successfully plan out their week including homework, deadlines, after school activities, and home responsibilities?

Organizing: Is your student's backpack, locker, and bedroom organized or are they always losing things?

Controlling impulses: Can your student put aside the “now” impulse for a better “tomorrow” consequence?


Though executive functioning is a lifelong process and we are always growing, most middle school students should have a basic understanding and be able to practice the skills mentioned above. If you notice that your teen struggles with several of these skills, you may want to talk to your pediatrician about a possible executive functioning disorder such as ADHD.

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COMPUTER SCIENCE

Mr. Alden, Computer Science Lead


“I'm not going to be a computer programmer, why do I need computer science?” This is such a great question! Many of us are not writers or mathematicians either, but we still took math and English classes. Why is that? Learning how to solve problems is a key component of math that helps us solve problems in life. Learning how to express ourselves in a clear and convincing manner in English helps do the same throughout our lives, whether we are an author or not.


The underlying concepts and skills we learn in computer science, just like math and writing, help us in other areas. Computer science focuses on understanding and breaking apart problems into more manageable chunks. We also learn about writing explicit instructions once we have broken down a problem to be solved or task to be completed. This is just one example of the many skills that students will take away from studying computer science.


Computer Science Instruction Update

Students have been continuing to work on websites they started last month. We are encouraging them to find topics that interest them to share through their webpages. It is empowering for students to know that they are capable of researching and writing to create a real webpage.

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Ms. Sarah, MS Theatre Teacher


Learning to listen is an invaluable skill. It can set you apart. Good listeners are better learners, better students, better friends, and better employees. They allow others to feel valued and can facilitate understanding. Really listening isn't always easy or natural, but it is worth practicing.

~Slightly adapted from Brooke Romney

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New Year, New Books!

Ms. Melissa, Librarian


Dear MWMA Families,


I'm so excited for all the new books we've received! Thanks to funds raised from the HOPE Squad, the Dance Off, and our fall Book Fair, we've been able to add several hundred new books to our collection as well as replace several well loved items. Your students started seeing these before Winter Break, and more are hitting the shelves every day.

I'm excited to share these new books with your students, and I could also use your help in keeping track of them and keeping them in good condition. I'm seeing a lot more damage to books than in previous years... mostly due to water bottles, spills, and pets. You can help reduce damage by doing the following:


  1. Ask if your student has any library books in their backpack.
  2. Put books in a safe (high) place when not being read.
  3. Keep books away from food and drinks; small children and naughty pets; and make sure your student's water bottle can seal well to prevent leaks.

Lastly, if a book does get damaged at home or in the backpack, please have your student bring it to me to look at. Sometimes I can repair the spine or page damage... and slight water damage might dry and be okay. If the book is permanently damaged and can not be used, please work with your student to either pay for the item or purchase a replacement.


Stay tuned for the American Library Association's Youth Media Awards at the end of the month, I'm sure I'll be sharing my best picks from their lists in February.


Melissa Zuckerman, MLIS

Library Media Teacher/Assessment Director

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JORDAN EDUCATION CENTER


The Jordan Family Education Center provides FREE support services and classes for families and students in Jordan School District. Their services are provided by JSD school psychologists, counselors and school psychology interns.


Here are just a few of the many services they provide.

  • TIMELY TOPICS: One-night seminars for parents addressing various pertinent topics. Parents are welcome to attend any or all of the sessions. Classes include: Co-Parenting Through Divorce, Video Game Addiction, Study Skills: Supporting Your Teen, Life Hacks for Coping with Depression, Internet Safety for our Children, and Raising Your Rainbow Child.
  • Excellent class topics for children and teens range from anxiety to making and keeping friends.
  • Several support groups are also offered.


Here is a link for all the supports and classes available.

https://guidance.jordandistrict.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/20/A-0316.pdf


For information or questions about classes, support groups, and counseling, call the Jordan Family Education Center 801-565-7442.

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STAFF SPOTLIGHT

Ms. Becky, Math Specialist

Ms Becky is the Elementary Math Interventionist at MWMA. Her road to teaching was slow and organic. She was a serious athlete growing up, traveling internationally with her soccer team. In college, she studied biology with an emphasis in human embryology and research. Then Ms. Becky chose to take time off from her studies to be a stay-at-home mother.


Her oldest child showed remarkable mathematics aptitude. Ms Becky started teaching him mathematics at home to satisfy his curiosity and drive. She had to find creative ways to explain complex ideas to a very young child. She slowly started tutoring other students from the neighborhood then beyond. In an effort to be a better tutor, Ms Becky started researching best-teaching practices, various curriculums, and alternative ways to teach the concepts and procedures of mathematics. She has explored multiple pedagogies and philosophies.


She created a Math Lab at her children’s elementary school to serve the advanced and remedial students. Through Western Governor’s University, she earned her teaching license. She is currently working toward her Master’s of Arts in Elementary Mathematics Education. She feels passionately about the importance of education for each student’s future happiness.


Through it all, Ms Becky has a drive to solve problems. Whether it is on the soccer field, or understanding which genes were causing congenital defects, or figuring out what is preventing a student from succeeding, she loves solving the mystery to help others succeed. Ms. Becky loves that ah-ha moment when a student goes from groaning to “give me another!”. She loves getting to know her students so that she can individualize her instruction to be a perfect fit. Whether it’s through games, puzzles, challenges, manipulatives, pictures, stories, or role-play, Ms Becky will utilize whatever she can to engage each student because she believes every student can learn math and will be happier when they do.


Ms Becky has 8 children, ages 4yrs – 17yrs. She loves being with them to bake, hike, read, play music, play board games, hit the slopes, build Lego robots, or just watch a movie. She loves the flexibility and accountability of Montessori education and has loved being a part of Mountain West Montessori Academy.

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2021/2022 THEME: FINDING JOY

January's Quote
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