Iroquois Middle School
DECEMBER - JANUARY NEWSLETTER
FROM THE PRINCIPAL
Dear Iroquois Families:
As we move into the winter months and the holidays, our students starting to make tremendous gains. Teachers have strong routines in place that allow for monitoring student progress toward grade-level standards. These routines ensure that teachers can drive instruction accordingly in both whole group and small group instruction.
There are four major focus areas as part of West Irondequoit’s Strategic Plan and I wanted to share more about it. As part of this work, we have embedded New York State’s Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Framework to ensure that equity and inclusivity remain a priority. To reiterate, the Framework focuses on the following four areas:
- Welcoming and Affirming Environment
- Inclusive Curriculum and Assessment
- High Expectations and Rigorous Instruction
- Ongoing Professional Learning and Support
This month, I will share about “high expectations and rigorous instruction.” This includes classroom experiences that prepare our students for independent learning. To this end, we strive for a classroom environment that is intellectually challenging for each child while also tailored to each child’s individual mode of learning. We ask students to think critically, problem-solve, take risks and collaborate with their peers. A driving philosophical belief within this classroom environment is the value of a growth mindset. Through a growth mindset, we have students recognize that mistakes are opportunities for learning. Students understand that while they may not have mastered something YET, with determination and support, they will achieve their goal!
While we engage our faculty in learning opportunities and professional development around the framework, we ask teachers to take risks themselves by trying new things, such as modeling the power of learning from mistakes. In November, teachers learned how to encourage risk taking in the classroom, other ways to build positive rapport and relationships with their students/families and how to leverage their community building circles. Those circles help students become the fabric of their classrooms. Through this continued professional learning, teachers will grow together in these skills. Our goal is that all students are held to high levels of learning each day through rigorous instruction.
As we head into the holiday season, I am continually thankful for the relationships our school community holds with each other. I wish you and your family a very happy and healthy New Year!
Principal: Mr. Christian Zwahlen | firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary: Ms. Gail Clune | email@example.com
Main office: 585-336-0804
Health Office: 585-336-3091
- Nurse: 585-336-0816
Transportation: 585-336-2992 | Transportation website
District Office: 585-342-5500 | District website: westirondequoit.org
- 12/1 - 12/3: Book Fair
- 12/2: Book Fair Family Event - 6:00-8:00 PM
- 12/24-12/31: NO SCHOOL - Holiday Recess
- 1/3: School resumes
- 1/17: NO SCHOOL - Martin Luther King Day
- 1/28: 5th Grade Family Event - Event to be TBD
For our full school calendar, click here.
MIRRORS, WINDOWS AND DOORS – OH MY!
Here in West Irondequoit, we are committed to creating a learning environment in which every student feels connected, welcomed, and included. One way we are working to accomplish this is through the concept of ensuring that school experiences provide all students with “mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors.”
- “Mirrors” are experiences in which students see themselves and can make personal connections.
“Windows” are opportunities for students to learn about experiences and perspectives different than their own.
“Sliding glass doors” provide students the opportunity step into a perspective or experience different from their own.
Here is an example: The West Irondequoit Foundation helped us purchase classroom sets of play dolls and food that align with the diverse representation of our community. Another example: Our teachers are making a concerted effort to choose read-aloud texts that represent our diverse population. Some third-grade teachers are reading the book, “Wonder.” As a result of this text, the class has engaged in rich conversations about people with different abilities and how important it is to be aware and inclusive of their peers.
We are dedicated to bringing this concept to life in all of our classrooms!
- Kim Cristal, Director of Humanities