SMS Update!

April 4, 2016

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View of Courtyard from Inside the Commons

Here's What's Happening...

The SMS Update is created to keep the staff of Strongsville Middle School up to date and in the loop as our school continues to evolve and take shape. It is important that we're all on the same page as we move forward to the 2016-2017 school year.

If you have questions, concerns, suggestions, or are looking for clarification to a rumor you may have heard, please feel free to contact: Steve Deitrick, Kelli Izzo, or Mike Vukovich. If we don't have the answer, we'll find it for you.

Master Schedule

The master schedule has been a constant work-in-progress. From the beginning stages with the 6-8 Transition Committee, to the guidance counselors working to fill sections, it remains fluid. This is what seems to be unfolding:

  • There will be 4 ELA teachers who are part of encore and will serve 6th & 7th graders
  • 6th graders will have Green/White Days for two of their encore periods- which means they will alternate days taking two courses (i.e. Art/PE, Music/Skills for Success) for the full year.
  • 7th grade music are ALL full year classes
  • 7th grade will have Green/White Days for ELA opposite Academic Lab
  • ALL 8th grade students will take a semester of Project Lead The Way (9 weeks robotics/ 9 weeks medical detective)
  • We are looking to fill 8th grade students' schedules with courses and keep the number of reading/academic lab periods to a minimum
  • Some core teachers may teach multiple sections of honors due an increase in honors enrollment

Once staffing is determined, more conversations will be had with staff to discuss course preferences (primarily encore classes). Although, I have had many of those conversations already with folks.

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View From Inside the Theater


Jenni will be making her rounds to all of the buildings to discuss future assignments for certified staff this week. Once everything is set in stone for next school year, then the master schedule can be focused on in more detail. Until then, I do not know who all is truly going to be in the new building next year. Decisions on which classified/support staff will be at SMS may take a bit longer to determine. Stay tuned.

Room Assignments

Once staffing has been determined and some loose ends are tied up with scheduling, teachers will be issued room numbers. There is no systematic approach to where teams are placed. Here is what seems to be unfolding:

  • 6th grade on 1st floor, 7th on 2nd floor, 8th on 3rd floor
  • FCS & SFS will be located on the first floor
  • Encore ELA will have their own rooms
  • Tech, AMP Lab, PLTW classrooms will be hardwired with desktops and located on the 2nd & 3rd floors
  • SLP, School Psych, Tech Coord will all have office space
  • Music teachers, SFS, FCS, Int Spec, HPE: we are looking at sharing office space in efforts to provide you with a home base

I realize that there is the need to put SMS room numbers on packing labels for moving purposes. We will get these out as soon as we can.

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Media Center is Taking Shape

Packing For the Big Move

Please reference the Moving & Packing memo created by Mark Donnelly that should have been shared with you by your building principal. Here are some important points:

  • Take personal items home. The district is not responsible for personal items.
  • Use the labels that will be brought to your building some time in late April.
  • Place labels on the side of the box- write name, room number that it is to go to and use a color-coded sticker to indicate which floor it is to go.

Purge! Purge! Purge! If you haven't used it in the past two years, chances are you'll never use it again. C'mon... Get rid of it!

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Lots of Space Inside the Gymnasiums

Curriculum Matters

Over the past few months, I have had some great conversations (most of which were not initiated by me) with staff from Albion, Center and the Elementary Schools on the following topics:

  • Standards-Based Grading
  • Varied Assessment Practices
  • Systematic Tier-2 & 3 Interventions
  • Co-teaching
  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Effective Use of I/E Time

Four or five staff members have approached me at different times this year to discuss how we can create a system of Tier 2 & 3 Interventions that address the academic needs of struggling students as well as the social/emotional component. These staff have GREAT ideas!

Just last week, I had conversations with teachers that would love to streamline I/E time next year to target struggling students, on their team, in the area of math and ELA and provide structured interventions and re-teaching. More time on task.. Love it!

Many Intervention Specialists have expressed the desire to be in the classroom working with teachers and students and focusing on one content area. So co-teaching in the area of ELA and Math is a possibility for next year. Two (2) teams in each grade level would serve students who need additional supports in ELA and Math. As we work to align curriculum/instructional practices K-12 in our district, and close the achievement gap that exists with our students with disabilities, as well as our at risk population, this practice makes sense. There are pockets at the high school and the middle schools where co-teaching practices have proven to be effective. If we move in this direction, it is imperative that we tap into these in-district resources.

Most of all, I love that when a colleague has an issue, they bring it directly to me. Whether it is a phone call or a face-to-face (I know sometimes you have to do email but, I really don't like it), there is no better way to bring an issue to light. We are all in the business of doing what is best for kids. And sometimes, people have conflicting ideas of what is 'best'. But, I feel we can all agree that if there are strategies/programs that breed success in students, then it doesn't hurt to emulate them and make them our own.

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View From Inside One of the Learning Communities

Important Dates

  • April 7: Culture Club Meeting at Albion @ 3:30
  • April 13: Combined Staff Meeting at Albion @ 3:20 (What Honors Work Looks Like)
  • April 26: Early Release- If the vast majority of teachers are able to finish entering SLO
Data, then we will meet with our Interdisciplinary Teams
  • May TBD: Combined Staff Meeting at Center @ 3:20 (Work in Interdisc. Teams)
  • May 13: SMS Golf Outing @ Mallard Creek
  • May 20: Kickin' It somewhere after school! (Mountain Dew for Everyone!!!)