The Friday Forecast

Office of the Principal; Friday November 1, 2013


This is the sixth edition of the 2013-14 Friday Forecast. A reminder for all staff members, we use the Friday Forecast to communicate pertinent news, weekly happenings, and outline specific things that we need the teachers and staff to address so we can work collectively to meet our goals. Every member of the staff is expected to read the Friday Forecast, follow all prompts, engage with shared researched based documents, and apply recommendations into your respective roles.

Quote for the Week!

‘Stop focusing on how STRESSED you are and remember how BLESSED you are.’

Author Unknown

The Week Ahead

Gold Week Schedule - 6,2,3,4,5,1

Monday (4th) - G40 (Student Government Lunch Meeting with Mr. Jackson)

Tuesday (5th) - G40 (Student Government Meeting (7:45am - SDR), CATE Field Study, PD Workshop (3:45 - SDR)

Wednesday (6th) - International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict, "Magnet Information" Support Staff Meetings (2:30-3:45, SDR), PBIS Meeting (3:45pm)

Thursday (7th) - International Tongue Twister Day, New Phone System Installation (all day), Magnet Implementation Team Meeting (3:45 - SDR)

Friday (8th) - New Phone System Installation, Tardy Part (11:30-1:30, during enrichment periods)

Upcoming Major Events

November 11th Professional Development Day

Monday, Nov. 11th 2013 at 12:30-4pm

University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

Columbia, SC

On November 11, 2013, the teachers from the International Academic Magnet at Irmo Middle School will participate in an on-site learning expedition "The Amazing Face" by conducting an in-depth investigation at the International Bazaar at the University of South Carolina. Our invitation to this event is a result of our ongoing partnership with Lauren Lowe and the Thinking Globally office, which is couched within the Study Abroad department at USC. This event promotes cultural diversity in the community by highlighting a plethora of international student organizations. Teachers from iAM will attend the bazaar and collect authentic artifacts from various international student groups; this collaboration will provide an avenue for future connections between teachers and international partners.

November 14th (Expeditionary Learning and Data Teams Professional Development Release Day) and "iNSIDE iAM" Evening Event

Monday, Nov. 4th 2013 at 8:15am

6051 Wescott Road

Columbia, SC

Thursday, November 14, 2013: Your requests have been heard! Based on feedback from last week’s data team meetings, additional planning time for selected data teams has been created. During first and second periods on 11/14, members of six data teams (three during first period and three during second period), will be provided with coverage from their classes in order to participate specifically on the data team process. The schedule was created in order to ensure that planning times are not disrupted – thus, this coverage will be EXTRA planning in order to help provide you with the support needed to accomplish the required data team tasks. Please review the linked document for detailed information regarding the data teams included.

Also on Thursday, November 14, 2013: The Magnet Implementation Team is hosting the first “iNSIDE iAM” evening event! Beginning at 6:00PM in the school cafeteria, this event will provide parents and community members with detailed information regarding our magnet theme and mission. Sarah Boddy will also provide a glimpse into the exciting world of Expeditionary Learning and Mrs. Zhao’s students will present an authentic Chinese fashion show and demonstration of the Dragon Dance. Mr. Simmons and his band students will follow with the Fall Band Concert at 7:00PM in the gymnasium. Check out the invitation below (thanks to Mrs. Channing Anderson for her design work!) and please plan to attend!

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District 5 "Teacher to Teacher Trailer"

Teacher 2 Teacher trailor

October Staff Birthdays

Jane Koon – November 3rd

Melissa Texin – November 5th

Channing Anderson – November 8th

Vance Lipe – November 10th

Phillip Dorley – November 12th

Juliette Greenlee – November 13th

Mary-Graham Harris – November 17th

Cynthia O’Reilly – November 22nd

Theresa Holland – November 24th

Kim Blitch – November 29th

Debbie Slice – November 29th

Please join me in wishing these staff members a happy birthday.

Magnet Personnel Changes

With the acquisition of the Magnet Grant (Project ACCESS), I am announcing several personnel changes (effective November 4th).

Ashley Evans (Dance Studio) - will transition to a full time teacher at IMS. This will necessitate student schedule changes. We will approach this with the task of reducing numbers in all classes if possible. Having 10 sections of dance (both semesters) as opposed to six will create more opportunities for our students and allow us to create a specialized section or two for advanced and/or specialized learning experiences. Congratulations Ms. Evans.

Caitlin McKenzie (Room 809) - will transition from an 8th Grade ELA teacher to the Lead Teacher for the International Academic Magnet. Because of her commitment to teaching and learning, she will still teach one class. Again, we will approach this with the end product of creating smaller classes for everyone. Congratulations to Mrs. McKenzie!

Channing Anderson (Room 713) - will transition from the SOAR teacher to an 8th Grade ELA teacher. Channing has an incredible track record for improving student performance and already teaches the majority of Mrs. McKenzie's students. This will make the transition for students seamless. Additionally, she will pick up another ELA class to reduce class sizes in some of our larger sections. She also has an Electronic Media Production degree from Middle Tennessee State University coupled with extensive work in the media field. She will also be tasked with developing and creating our new International Communications Center. Congratulations to Mrs. Anderson.

Allysha Ramcharan (Room 704 - Mrs. Ramcharan is no stranger to IMS. She has been subbing in an intermittent capacity for Mrs. Arnott. She comes to us from Fairfield County School. She has an extensive array of experience working with relectutant readers. Additionally, she posssesses a wealth of experience with mathematics. She has replaced Mrs. Anderson in SOAR and begain her new role on Friday (11/1/13).

Richard Schedler (Bookkeepers Office) - Mr. Schedler started Friday as the new Magnet Site Coordinator. Mr. Schedler has a extensive repertiore of experience with major federal grants and managing large projects with complex accounting requirements. He has a strong media background with experience building webpages, designing marketing materials, and identifying secondary funding sources to supplement our magnet. He is well connected with the School of International Business at USC as well as maintaining a plethora of contacts that will help to broaden our connections with the business community. Congratulations to Mr. Schedler.

Additional Changes

Ashley Yandle - Mrs. Yandle is returing to our staff as a shadow for one of our students. She is a regular on our campus and works extremely hard to foster the type of relationship with students that results in successes. We are very excited that Mrs. Yandle will be with us in this capacity.

Jeffrey Vaughn - Mr. Vaughn will be joining us as a shadow for one of our students. Mr. Vaughn also works with the athletic staff at the high school so he experience with many of our student athletes will allow us to deepen relationships and curtail some of the excitement that students display.

Sammy Dorsey - New Mental Health Worker. He is replacing Kathy Anastes who is leaving us to join the staff at the University of South Carolina. We are really excited to welcome Mr. Dorsey to the team.

Nuts and Bolts

After-School Academic Assistance

With November in full swing and student's just receiving the first nine weeks report cards, some of them need extensive afterschool assistance , I am asking teachers to utilize afternoon academic assistance as an intervention with students. Remember we have busses running Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday after-school so transportation should not be an issue. Many of you already stay after school to work with students. I want to encourage everyone to identify a day during the week where, if students need assistance, they can stay after-school to work with you and also have transportation home.

Attendance (Student)

Take your attendance "daily" during every class period. Any abnormalities, please notify Mrs. Wilds. If you have students who are accumulating excessive absences, please notify your administrator so we can begin to take the necessary actions. I am noticing that we are seeing quite a few instances where students are being asked to be excused late to a teacher's class. Everyone's subject area is important. Let's refrain from infringing on each other's time and make certain that you don't run over and cause a student to be late to another teacher's class.

Attendance (Staff)

On Monday, Mrs. Ranly will provide me with the absence report for October. I will share it with you at that time. Our goal was to have less seventy-five total absences for the month of October. It is absolutely critical that everyone to make every possible effort to be at school every single day. I will join you in the effort to be here daily for our students and staff. I certainly understand that things will come up that will necessitate an absence. When you absolutely have to be out, you are reminded to follow the proper protocols and prepare appropriate plans for your students. Remember, if you are on duty, that needs to be communicated to your substitute.

Class Changes

Thanks so much to everyone for standing at your doors between class changes. We must unite and be consistent with this practice. Remember, not only do we control the classrooms but also the the campus common areas as well. Students should not be loitering, hanging out, visiting vending machines, or using this time to socialize. They only have five minutes to get to class. As it relates to lunch dismissals, make sure you follow the approximate time frames for the beginning and ending of each lunch period. Refrain from sending students to lunch early. Doing so causes a lot of congestion in the cafeteria and invites chaos and understaffed supervision ratios.

Duty Roster

Monday - I Group

Tuesday - R Group

Wednesday - M Group

Thursday - O Group

Friday - O Group

Make sure you are at your post prior to 7:45 am. The students start moving at 7:45 and our supervision posts will eliminate any disruptions. I expect every to be up and circulating around students to make sure their behaviors are consistent with our expectations.

Dress Code for Staff

I want to commend everyone for looking their professional best everyday. Continue to model for our students how they should prepare for school and work.

Emergency Preparedness

I have placed an appointment on everyone's calendar regarding an Active Shooter training that will be held in January. I wanted to give as much advance notice as possible. We will have a drill or two this month. Make sure you stay aware of our evacuation routines. I wonder what would happen if we had to evacuate from a large event like a pep rally or an assembly? To stay prepared, please review the procedures and make sure you practice them with your classes. During evacuation drills, everyone must be out of the building and in their assigned areas in ninety seconds. Let's hustle to safety in an orderly fashion.

Again, a reminder... I expect all classes with exterior doors to remain locked at all times. Assign a student to be the designed door opener. All exterior gates must be locked at all times. Any visitor to our campus must check-in the front office first and register with our lobby guard system. Remember, everyone's safety is our top priority.

ID & Tardy Cards

All students should properly display their ID and have in their possession a tardy card each and every day. Teachers with first period classes are responsible for ordering temporary ID's for those students that do not have one. A student should not make it to second period classes without an ID. Let's work together to ensure that this policy and our practices are followed by all students and staff personnel.

Leaving your classroom

If you are relocating your classroom for any reason, you must notify the front office and attendance so we will know everyone's whereabouts. If you have any questions or concerns, see your assigned administrator.

Morning Cafeteria Adjustments

We are in the process of adjusting our morning routines for students. The cafeteria is quite congested and needs a relief plan instituted. We are testing alternative and hope to have a confirmed solution before the end of the week. The changes amount to this:

  1. At the 7:45am bell, the first four tables (adjacent to Officer Lyons' office) in the cafeteria will be dismissed to the gymnasium along with all eighth graders.
  2. Those students eating breatfast will remain in the cafeteria. When finished, 8th graders will continue to report to the gym as usual. 7th graders will remain in the cafeteria.
  3. As busses arrive, 7th graders will report to the cafeteria and have a seat. 8th graders will report to the gym and have a seat.
  4. Hopefully, this will balance out the students in the morning and reduce cafeteria congestion.
  5. We have two more people on staff so we will add them to these areas to aid with supervision.

Student Dress Code

Let's not get soft on the dress code. Continue to inspect what we expect. Report any and all violations to the administrators. Keep in mind that every second students miss class creates an opportunity for us not to meet our goals. Exercise good judgement in sending students out of class for these violations. When needed, call an administrator to your class to handle. Believe it or not, it is a student strategy to wear inappropriate garments...they know we will pull them out of class.

Teaching and Learning

As we navigate November/December, we are really looking forward to observing all classes. Our goal is to observe every teacher at least one time. As a leadership team, we will be concentrating on Questioning, Student Feedback, and Magnet Theme Integration. I am confident that we will see some amazing things going on in classes. Remember that we have to lessen student dependency on teacher provided answers and more on student's researching and collaborating to learn processes and find solutions. Idea to Share: I observed a teacher using 20% time during a lesson. At the designated time in the lesson, students were not allowed to ask any questions of the teacher, they had use their peers as resources and/or conduct research on the internet.


  1. Distribute a simple, brief reading selection, Allow time for independing reading. Demonstrate eaching thinking level with question stems. Discuss the levels of DOK by modeling questions about the selection at each level of thought.
  2. Allow students to create questions at each level of thinking. Use questions in centers, for independent activities, or as small group activities.
  3. Invite students to develop questions at the specified level by the tecahers. Use these questions for review and discussion.
  4. Display questioning stems around the room. Encourage stduenst to use the stems as references to ask purposesful questions in whole class or small-group discussions.
  5. Pose a question of the day as a warm-up exercise. Display a completed question using a questioning prompt or stem. Allow time for student discussion. Invite them to debate using prompted pro/con scenario cards/sheets.

Deliver lessons at a brisk pace. Deliver instruction at an appropriate pace to optimize instructional time, the amount of content that can be presented, and on-task behavior. Make sure we are not overloading students with too much information at one time. Use a rate of presentation that is brisk but includes a reasonable amount of time and material to be covered so they can gradually improve their levels of mastery. When you are planning, consider students’ thinking/ processing, especially when they are learning new material. The desired pace is neither so slow that students get bored nor so quick that they can’t keep up.

Remember November's magnet theme is Cultural Diversity. Refer to the Magnet Corner below for ideas on how to incorporate this theme into your lessons. Please continue to let us (Administration/Magnet Implementation Team) know if you need any assistance.


Don't forget, make sure the following is on your board:

Learning Target (I Can...Statements) for every prep taught



Upcoming Projects/Assignments

During your lessons, make sure you are asking challenging questions that invoke inquiry and process not just rote memorization. Are you using appropriate DOK Question STEMS? If not, begin trying these (NEW LINK) as they will help improve cognitive functions and improve student performance. Also, this information will be extremely helpful in helping you integrate DOK into the four core content areas.

Finally, remember as a district, we will are focusing on two major concepts through the data teams process:

1. Explicit Direct Instruction

2. Higher Order Questioning

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Magnet Corner

Magnet Minute:

This month’s theme is Cultural Diversity! “As our nation grows increasingly diverse, there has never been a better opportunity to learn to live respectfully together and benefit from one another’s wisdom and experiences,” (Mena, 2013); thus, this month’s theme will allow you the flexibility and creativity to approach your content standards through the lenses of diverse cultures and cultural practices. As you design engaging lessons and performance based experiences for students, consider questions like: What does a scientist (or mathematician, composer, etc.) look like in India (or another country of interest)? What cultural traditions are popular in Mexico and how are these events celebrated (Mrs. Ellis has already provided great insight for this one!)? What do “coming of age” rituals look like in Kenya (Ms. DuPre, you can answer this one!)? Consider your specific content standards and pacing guides, and then “think outside of the box!”

This month’s overarching Learning Target is: I can respectfully evaluate cultural differences from people around the world. *Because there is no theme for December, this Learning Target will extend into the Christmas holiday.

In just two months, there is tremendous evidence of our transformation into The International Academic Magnet! Remember the focus this year: teach one theme-based lesson per month and continue to EXPLORE the design principles of Expeditionary Learning. The transformation process is slow, hard work. But it’s work worth doing.

Closing Thoughts

As we navigate November, I would like for us to gain traction and continue to work collaboratively to raise the bar for everyone at IMS. I want to remind you of our article jigsaw activity from October's PD Workshop. Remember, Peter Marris made a compelling case that life depends on continuity and that in virtually every significant transition of any kind acceptance and adjustment proves far more difficult than anticipated for all concerned. Let's continue to work through these changes in positive/productive ways. If you have concerns, frame those into ideas and/or solutions. Share those with your grade level content leaders and/or your department chairs. If it is what's best for kids, we will work towards implementing it.

Student Adjustments - For the most part, students have figured out our "new" routines. Remember we must be consistent in our adjustments and implement our programs and practices with fidelity, clearly articulate campus and classroom norms, and expect nothing but their very best.

Teacher Adjustments - As I have shared with you countless times, it is in student's DNA to display excitement for middle school and challenge our routines. We must match their excitement with clear norms in our supervisory roles and intervention efforts. Remember, tools and strategies for curtailing this excitement can be found in setting clear expectations, repeatedly rehearsing routines, consistently providing engaging instructional experiences, utilizing all of our collective resources, and regularly contacting parents (positively and seeking assistance). Be cautiously watchful in your supervision roles and report disruptions and things out of the ordinary immediately.

I am including the video links below for your viewing, reflection, and classroom adjustments. It is my hope that the readings, videos, and tasks will ignite innovative ideas and help illuminate the path ahead.

Stand by me....iAM...#IrmoSTRONG

Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S., Principal

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