News & Notes
Off and running...
We are off and running with the 2016-17 #ESMSbestyearever! Our teachers and students are hard at work forming productive partnerships and strong connected relationships with one another to ensure our students can achieve their highest potential. We also recognize that in order to be successful in school, our children need support from both the home and school. We know a strong partnership with you will make a great difference in your child’s education.
As partners, we share the responsibility for our children’s success and want you to know that we will do our very best to carry out our responsibilities. We ask that you guide and support your child’s learning by ensuring that he/she: 1) Attends school daily and arrives on time, ready for the day’s learning experience 2) Completes all work and assignments given by teachers 3) Reads daily to develop a love for reading and to improve literacy skills 4) Shares school experiences with you so that you are aware of his/her school life 5) Informs you if he/she needs additional support in any area or subject 6) Knows that you expect him/her to succeed in school and go on to college or other post-secondary training.
Please consider joining our Middle School PTO as our students can greatly benefit from your involvement and contributions to the school’s program and its operations. We are always seeking volunteers to help us with the following activities: School-wide events, student recognition events, student leadership opportunities, and outreach and recruitment of parent and community volunteers.
Thanks to everyone who has worked to create such a fantastic start to the school year. We appreciate the efforts that all of our stakeholders contribute to help us meet the needs of each and every student. Below you will find some of the great things that are happening in and around our building as well as upcoming activities.
Excelsior Springs Middle School
What's Happening at ESMS
Teaming returns to the Middle School
A major change and focus for the 2016-2017 school year is the addition of Teaming to the building. With Teams, each student is placed within a team of 100 students and 4 teachers to increase community and connectedness between our students, staff, parents, and school. Teaming places an increased focus on student learning and identifying and meeting student needs, while providing each student a team of 4 teachers that become the expert of that student. Below are a few of the opportunities Teaming has provided for teachers and students:
Increased opportunities for collaboration amongst students on same team.
Elongated EXCEL hour allows for targeted rotations of data-driven interventions in ELA/Math.
Being on a team, students are less likely to fall through the cracks since a team of teachers will be responsible for the success of each student.
Students are able to engage in interdisciplinary units.
Students and parents are experiencing more consistency with goals and expectations which will reduce anxiety in students.
Teachers have the support of their fellow Team teachers in identifying and addressing the needs of students and can work together to ensure the success of students.
Student Leadership Group
ESMS has a new approach to student leadership for the 2016-2017 #bestyearever! Every student in the building is assigned an Excel class; a home room teams can utilize to meet student need, implement academic interventions, and celebrate student achievements. Excel classes were challenged to nominate two students per class to serve as members of the Student Leadership Team. Students were encouraged to nominate peers with a voice that could be trusted to positively represent the class, team, school, and Excelsior Springs community! This past week, our 48-member fresh-faced Student Leadership Team met to discuss goals and initiatives for the year. A few things on their agenda? Developing building-wide community service projects, assisting with new student transitions, planning spirit weeks and activities, providing student feedback for administration for school improvement...and so much more!
Our students have great ideas, but so does our community! Have a project for our students? Need volunteers? Send your ideas our way! It's going to be a great year at ESMS!
(contact: Taylor Lane)
Grade, Attendance, and Behavior incentives are being held by Teams during EXCEL hour to recognized students for their positive efforts and accomplishments in the 3 areas on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. If a student meets the predetermined goals set by the TEAM teachers, they are able to participate in the celebration.
ESMS Attendance Matters #SchoolEveryDay
American History has visitors
While teaching American History, we will revisit the treatment of Native Americans and other people. This was a way to introduce the students to a different culture, and provide a seamless transition into our next unit of study which is exploration of America by European powers. It is important for our students to understand that history impacts them, and that the things that we study are still alive today.
The visitors discussed the vast amount of different Indian Nations. Highlighted some of the variations among the different Indian Nations/Tribes. Discussed how Native Americans have adapted/overcame certain things throughout history. The speakers did a great job helping our students understand that there are many different tribes and that there are 567 federally recognized tribes.
The faculty and staff of ESMS would like to thank Dr. Eric, Anderson, Ray Phillips,and Shane Lynch. (Ray and Shane are seniors at Haskell) from Haskell for sharing with our students.
Many teachers throughout the building and district are beginning to "Gamify" their classrooms. Gamification involves turning class procedures into part of a larger, game-like structure to encourage students to form intrinsic motivation. By helping students set achievement goals, masked as game levels, teachers can help students learn to motivate themselves. The gamification process creates a lot of buy-in in a middle school classroom because most students play games- they know the structures and expectations and happily suggest modifications to the in class game. Students can identify short and long-term goals and learn that success builds off itself in more ways than one. They actively choose good behavior and reduce the need for discipline themselves, because they want to achieve goals they have set. Overall, gamification has had a large impact in my room on behavior and class procedure but also on academic growth.
In Ms Schleiden's class, gamification is dragon themed. Students start the class game as a hatchling and work their way up to the winning rank of Dragon Master. Several intermediary levels fall between these two ranks, and students move up by earning experience points. Students earn these points by turning in work on time, achieving higher grades on tests or assignments, completing notes, helping peers, and otherwise meeting class expectations. Students can also earn XP (as it is called) by exceeding these expectations. Most recently, a student earned points by helping two peers choose books to read while in the library.
To commemorate Patriot Day: A National Day of Remembrance, a time set aside each September 11th, to remember the horrific events of 2001, Excelsior Springs Middle School (ESMS) was granted unprecedented access into the daily lives of three first responders from the Excelsior Springs Fire Department (ESFD).
Before meeting with the firefighters/Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), students were asked to compose relevant and appropriate questions for the question and answer portion of the presentations. All grade levels, sixth through eighth, were given the opportunity to discuss the challenges and victories of being first responder,in an area where they have familial ties. EMT/Firefighter Johnny shared many stories of heroism by the ESFD.
The faculty and staff of ESMS would like to thank ESFD for allowing EMT/Firefighter Johnny Conrick, Paramedic Kenny Slavens and Deputy Chief Taylor for sharing their experiences and their diligence in protecting the community of Excelsior Springs.
Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day Jr.
Girls on the Run
ESMS has NINETEEN 6th grade girls participating in Heart & Sole this fall!
Heart & Sole is Girls on the Run’s new program for middle school girls! Heart & Sole creates a positive, structured space for middle school girls to learn about themselves, explore new ideas, cultivate empathy, strengthen connections and develop life skills that will help them as they move through adolescence and beyond.
The Heart & Sole curriculum is rich with themes girls can relate to, addressing the whole girl—body, brain, heart, spirit and social connection—and building important life skills such as team building, developing a support system, boundary setting, decision making, asking for and providing help and more.
Middle School Night at the HS Football game
Middle School Dances
Our next dances (6-8 grade) are October 7th and Dec 16th from 6-8pm.