The Cat's Connection

November

Happy Thanksgiving!

How is it that parent/teacher conferences and Thanksgiving are upon us already? In the spirit of the season, I'd like to start with those things for which we at LaCreole are most thankful.


We are thankful for our students! They are a great group, and though we are the adults and the teachers, they keep us learning as well. We have awesome kids here at LaCreole and we are thankful for each one of them. Thank you students!


We are thankful for our parents! The success of our kids depends on our partnership with families. It's our communication and positive relationships that ensure success for our students. Thank you parents for connecting, volunteering, and being so supportive of our school. We couldn't do what we do without you!


We are thankful for our community. I'm not sure how many people are aware, but our community supports our efforts at every turn. From providing donations for classrooms and, most recently, our Makerspaces, to providing backpacks and other school supplies for countless numbers of students, to helping paint classrooms and beautify our campus, our community continually looks for needs and fills them. Thank you Dallas community!


I appreciate our staff. Our staff is a group of people who are relentless in their efforts to ensure our kids succeed. On a daily basis I witness not only teachers, but educational assistants, custodians, kitchen staff, and secretaries, working with kids, guiding kids, and simply but most importantly, taking care of kids. Thank you, staff, for your heart for kids!


Thanks to all of you, LaCreole is a unique, special place where kids feel valued and learn because of the rich environment and supports they have.


As we look ahead to parent-teacher conferences next week, here are a few ideas to keep in mind for a positive experience.


  • Review your child’s work, grades, and progress reports. Talk with your child about his or her progress in school.
  • Make a list of questions to ask during the conference or things going on in your child’s life of which school might not be aware.
  • Think about ways you would like to be involved in your child’s learning so that you can discuss them with the teacher.


It’s natural for our kids to become more independent. Although it might not always appear so, students still want their parents involved -- yes, even in middle school -- and conferences are a great way to do just that. I hope to see many of you at conferences next week.


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Great Things Going On At LaCreole!

LaCreole Un-Fundraising Going On Now!

School fundraisers are un-fun! We bake, we sell magazines, and we run. The whole idea we greatly dread, So we are having an un-fundraiser instead!


We want to reduce the stress and pressure of traditional fundraising. We are employing this un-fundraiser not to give the impression we are not willing to do the work, but to express the need for funds for many of our school-wide projects and, at the same time, attempt to make meeting this need less burdensome on families and kids.


Here are some fun ways to consider contributing funds!

$__________ I don’t want to bake. You really don’t want to eat or sell what I bake. Thanks for not making me bake. Here’s the money I would have wasted burning those cookies.


$__________ I feel bad asking friends and relatives to buy magazines, wrapping paper, and everything else. Sometimes I pretend I don’t have friends and relatives just to protect them. Here’s the money they would have spent on a bunch of stuff they don’t need.


$__________ To express my pure joy at not having to urge my child on to win the grand 10-cent prize for collecting, selling, or winning whatever it is we’re doing, here’s the code to my bank account and the key to my safe deposit box. Just kidding. But here’s money to express my appreciation.


$__________ Here’s money just for being so witty and clever.


The funding we seek will provide tools to allow our scholars to become better critical thinkers, collaborators, and, most of all, creators.


Donations may be turned in at the school office or mailed to LaCreole Middle School, 701 SE LaCreole Drive, Dallas, OR 97338. Please make checks payable to LaCreole Middle School.

Donations may also be made online at: fundly.com/lacreole-wildcats-un-fundraiser-campaign


Thank you for your continued support!

Creating a Culture of Making

Throughout our school we have developed areas called Makerspaces. A Makerspace is a place where students can create designs, build prototypes, and share their work with others. Through Makerspaces, we are creating a culture of creativity, innovation, and collaboration that is fun and engaging. A Makerspace culture relies less on construction of objects and more on the processes of shared learning. In Makerspaces, failure is a big part of the process as it gives us information on how to improve our work through redesign and problem-solving. In our Makerspaces, risk-taking is encouraged in the form of allowing our kids to push their comfort zone, which leads to the development of confidence and skill development.

Fall Art Contest

Congratulations to the winners of the Fall Drawing Contest!

6th Grade

First place: Maisy McCallister

Second place: Haven Kelsey

Third place: Samuel Wynn


7th Grade

First place: Sofia Poston

Second place: Abigail Sambuceto

Third place: Izabelle Blodgett


8th Grade

First place: Krista Cook

Second place: Lindsey Harris

Third place: Alexis Fish


Join us for the Winter Art Contest in December.


Many thanks to Ms. Shook for providing students with this opportunity!

Cats of the Month

LaCreole Food Drive

LaCreole CANNED FOOD DRIVE 2016

Activity Night - Friday, November 18

Join us for Activity Night! This time, get in at 6:30 p.m. with your $5 and canned food. See the flyer for details. Doc will be here and we will be rockin'!
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Time to Dance!

The much-awaited dance unit is coming to PE beginning November 28! We will not be dressing down for the entire time between Thanksgiving Break and Winter Break. Instead, we'll be learning a new line dance and reviewing favorites from years past. Check out our Wildcat PE Facebook page for posted videos of the new dance, as well as other fun times we will have in class. https://www.facebook.com/Wildcat-PE-1417022628548298/

Spirit Week: December 5th - 9th

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What is the deal with this SB 856?

Not Anything New!


Recently you probably received a letter home about SB856. In short, this bill requires schools to instruct students in child abuse prevention, what it is, how to avoid it, what to do if something were to happen, and gives parents the option of opting their child out of this instruction. Unfortunately, the bill is also referenced as "Sexual Abuse Prevention Instruction," which immediately makes people nervous. I will be the first to admit that sending an opt-out form home to parents without a clear message about our approach was not the best plan. At the time it was a reaction to meet compliance for this new requirement, but in hindsight it would have been better to think things through a bit more first. That said, my hope is that as you read through the explanation that follows, you will understand a bit more about our philosophy and how we care about the wellbeing of our kids and will be able to see the benefit of the instruction our kids are receiving here at school.


Our philosophy:

What we do at school is an important part of helping our students develop as positive and well-informed people. We have been working hard to formulate a plan about how to integrate SB856 requirements with what we believe is an already comprehensive health and life-skills based curriculum, which we have developed over the past three years. We use multiple resources to present and discuss designated topics with our students, taking into consideration their maturation level and needs during this unique time of life. I want to assure you we are not going to be trying out new curriculum or giving our students any instruction or impression other than what it means to be safe, healthy, and good decision makers so they can protect themselves and others. We value and trust our parents, and we hope that level of trust in us is returned as we work together to make sure our kids know the adults in their world will look out for them.


Learning goals:

The following are the advisory committee's tips for implementing SB856 at the middle school level. We teach these standards naturally through our exploratory and health classes, along with many other topics appropriate for middle schoolers, all of which we feel are important and relevant to all kids. Staff who teach sensitive topics are very mindful of the needs of our kids, skilled at navigating some pretty tough topics, and experienced at presenting information in a most thoughtful and appropriate way. I am truly thankful for the their want and willingness to help our students learn skills that will help them be safe and successful.


SB856 Standards in a Nutshell:

  • Demonstrate ways to respond when someone is being bullied, harassed, or sexually abused.

  • Discuss how healthy communication relates to respecting personal boundaries.

  • Identify things that create power imbalances in relationships.

  • Demonstrate how to access valid information and resources about healthy relationships.

  • Describe boundaries regarding touch and safety with bodies, including healthy ways to express affection.

  • Discuss healthy and respectful ways to communicate about bodies related to physical and emotional changes that occur during puberty.


Most of the learning objectives included above are heavily embedded in our health and exploratory curriculums and not always specific to sexual abuse prevention. That makes it difficult to separate SB856-specific instruction from our regular instruction, further complicating how we decide which students should receive, or not receive, instruction depending on whether or not they have opted out. As a school we understand that some parents prefer to opt students out of this kind of instruction, which is every parent's right and one that we support. I want to add assurance, though, that our approach to teaching comes from a caring and supportive perspective in helping our students gain skills that we as parents want for our own children. My hope is that my explanation of what we are trying to accomplish here at school has helped alleviate any anxiety and that parents who may have initially opted out might reconsider.

THANK YOU!

Our heart-felt thanks to the following organizations who have donated time and money to the benefit of our kids. It is amazing to be part of this generous community.


Van Wells Building Supply - donation for Makerspaces

Starbucks - service project, painting art room

Meduri Farms -backpacks and supplies for students

Dallas United Methodist Church - backpacks and supplies for students

Dallas Catholic Churches - supplies for students

Bradley Dull - donation for Makerspaces

Safeway Stores - food supplies

Wal-Mart - food supplies

Fox Theatre - movie passes as student rewards

McDonald's - achievement certificates

Box Tops for Education

Help support our school! We are collecting Box Tops! This year there's an added incentive -- for every Walmart-exclusive Box Top we clip and collect until November 2, our school earns a chance to be one of 20 winners of a bonus 50,000 Box Tops, which means a possible $5,000 for our school! We have a school-wide competition going as well, with the winning class earning a popcorn party. Kids should put their Box Tops in a baggie with their name on it and turn them in to the main office.

Big Hint for the Holidays -- Wildcat T-shirts for sale!

Here's a hint! Wildcat Spirit Wear makes a great gift for the holidays! T-shirts will be available for purchase during parent-teacher conferences. We know about 657 students who might like one! T-shirts are $8 each -- such a deal!

Strengthening Families Workshops

Emergency Preparedness

This year a focus of our district will be emergency preparedness. It is our hope to communicate a clear message to all involved of how to respond if and when we are faced with emergencies of any kind. Attached is a letter from our superintendent explaining our district's strategy, which will be communicated frequently in the coming months. As a school, LaCreole is currently not scheduled this year to participate in an evacuation simulation, but plans for future exercises are underway.

Upcoming Events!

November 18 - Activity Night (get in early, 6:30 p.m., with canned food)

November 21 - 23 - Parent/Teacher Conferences - No School for Students

November 24 & 25 - Thanksgiving Holiday - No School

December 8 - Choir Concert - 7 p.m. at DHS

December 13 - Holiday Band Concert - 7 p.m. at DHS

December 16 - Last day of school before Winter Break

December 17 through January 2 - Winter Break

January 3 - First day back after Winter Break.

Ways to Stay Connected