Island Trees Memorial Middle School

The Home-School Connection

December 4, 2017

Let me begin this week by thanking each of you for your continued support. From your support of our school and the PTSA at our Holiday Boutique to your spirited and energetic presence at schools sporting events, your desire to connect to our school is gratifying and powerful.

Of significant note was the Substance Abuse Forum hosted by our PTSA on November 27th. The strong community response to this presentation evidenced a desire to learn more about the health risks associated with tobacco (including vaping), drugs, and alcohol. Thank you to all who attended and our PTSA for organizing this powerful event.

As we begin December and are sometimes pulled in multiple directions at once, please reach out to your teachers or to me if you need any support related to extra help, clubs, contests, intramural activities, or any other school-related function that may serve to keep your child connected to our school. We have so much to offer and would be excited to connect your child to a program that they might be enjoyable and rewarding.

Though there are features in this newsletter that are repeated (Let's Stay in Touch, If You are Looking For), each newsletter includes new information about programs which are timely and worthy of our attention. Take a look at this week's notes on A Long Walk to Water, The Hour of Code, and Common Sense Media. Please also encourage your child to participate in the LIRR"s Safety of the Tracks contest. All submissions must be in by December 15th.

Please enjoy this week's newsletter!

Winter Concerts

Grades 7 & 8

Thursday, Dec. 14th, 7-9pm

59 Straight Lane

Levittown, NY

We all look forward to celebrating the hard work and commitment of our performing musical groups. Hope to see you there!

Grades 5 & 6 Holiday Concert

Monday, Dec. 18th, 7-9pm

59 Straight Lane

Levittown, NY

We all look forward to celebrating the hard work and commitment of our performing musical groups. Hope to see you there!

Grades & the Growth Mindset for Parents

As you visit the Parent Portal and review grades with your children, please be sure to review some of the Growth Mindset resources included below. The end of a quarter provides an excellent opportunity for students, teachers, and families to examine the differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. This discussion can also help to reboot a student who may feel as though he/she can never do well in a particular course.

Hour of Code (12/4-12/10)

The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code", to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. Check out the tutorials and activities. This grassroots campaign is supported by over 400 partners and 200,000 educators worldwide.

Please review the resources included and support our school's efforts to promote coding in our schools.

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A Long Walk to Water

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When our students at Island Trees Memorial Middle School enter seventh grade English classes, they begin the year with a novel called A Long Walk to Water. It is the story of the journey of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, Salva Dut. The Lost Boys are a group of young boys who were forced to flee their homes and country (on foot, through the African wilderness) as a result of civil war in their villages.

As an exciting addition to our curriculum this year, we are lucky enough to have a guest speaker, Sebastian Maroundit, also a Lost Boy of Sudan, come to speak to our seventh and eighth grade students. Sebastian has created an organization called Building Minds in South Sudan. Their mission is to rebuild schools in war-torn, poverty, and famine stricken South Sudan, as well as to promote gender equality in education. Because of the ongoing war in South Sudan, education has suffered greatly.

We have been raising funds for Sebastian to put toward his future endeavors in his native country. Bricks made from red construction paper will continue to be sold for $1 each during all lunch periods. Every brick purchased will be displayed in our school and we are hoping to add enough bricks to build a school building display for Sebastian’s visit on December 8. We would love it if you could encourage your children to purchase bricks during their lunch periods to contribute to this worthy cause. Feel free to purchase your own bricks as well! Thank you for your support!

Be sure to follow Island Trees Memorial Middle School on Twitter for daily updates from our classrooms, club meeting rooms, playing fields, and the stage. @islandtreesmms
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Stay Connected: Intramurals as a Means to Connect to Our School

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As a father with young children and a middle level educator, it is important that I use the resources available to me to find age appropriate and meaningful experiences, books, apps, and tech tools that support growth. One website that I refer to often is Common Sense Media. As you may be interested in books, apps, movies, and games during this holiday season, you may find the reviews and ranking helpful.

The Mission of Common Sense Media:

Common Sense is the leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. We empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives.

Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. We offer the largest, most trusted library of independent age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites, books, and music. Our Parent Concerns and Parent Blog help families understand and navigate the problems and possibilities of raising children in the digital age.

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No Place for Hate

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With public displays of hate on the rise, it is more important than ever for schools to commit to programs that clearly define expectations in behavior for all members of the community. Whether you are a student, educator, or family member, you have a role to play in combating bias and bullying as a means to stop the escalation of hate.

Island Trees Memorial Middle School is excited to announce our partnership with the ADL's No Place for Hate Movement. No Place for Hate is a self-directed program helping all of the stakeholders take the lead on improving and maintaining school climate so all students can thrive. To be designated No Place for Hate, a school must complete the following:

  • needs assessment
  • formation of a No Place for Hate committee
  • signing of the Resolution of Respect
  • one A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute anti-bias or bullying prevention training program (optional in some regions)
  • design and implementation of three school-wide anti-bias or bullying prevention activities

We look forward to your support and ideas as we work with our students and school community to promote respect, understanding, and positive interpersonal behaviors.

Read Every Day Initiative

Walk around our school before Homeroom, step onto buses at dismissal, or circle the cafeteria during a lunch period and you are likely to find students buried in a book. No, not only a school-assigned book, but one that is driven by a passion or a particular interest. Though we have and will continue to create many opportunities to promote reading across the curriculum, we would ask that you continue to support your child's independent reading outside of school.

Read Every Day Initiative

Island Trees Memorial Middle School requires all students to have a book of their choice with them at all times. Teachers often set aside 5-10 minutes of class time to silent reading in order to promote reading stamina and skill development.

We also have students read whenever there is any downtime in class. Most importantly, teachers very often to read with their students. This has really had an impact on students reading because they see our love as well. We have had kids make quick review posters for other classmates who might need an idea of a book to read.

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Paint Buckets & Percussion with Mrs. Wilson

Mrs. Wilson Music Workshop students took part in an engaging and fun lesson which made great use of paint buckets, drum sticks and chairs. Designed to help students understand the rhythmic nature of drumming and percussion, Mrs. Wilson's lesson was a great success!

Designing Cars & Exploring the Laws of Physics

Mr. Cava's students spent time designing, creating, testing and racing cars over the past few weeks. And while students participated in fun racing competitions on a standardized track, the true measure of this experience can be found in our students' understanding of concepts such as velocity, acceleration, momentum, and drag.

Building Games in Mr. Norton's Technology Classroom

Students in Mr. Norton's technology class have been using their math skills (understanding angles) and their new woodworking skills to design a game board that resembles a knock hockey board. A recent visit to this classroom saw students sanding, cutting, and building this board to meet the requirements of the project.

If You Are Looking For...

Thank you for connecting with our school in so many ways. Whether it has been at a trip meeting for Greenkill or Washington DC, Meet the Teacher Night, or the 5th Grade Welcome, it is clear that the home-school connection is strong. I wanted to use this section to remind all of the ways in which we continue to connect with families.
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The Daily Bulletin

Please be reminded that our school's daily announcements are posted on our website. These announcements come from teachers, coaches, and club advisors. Please be sure to review these announcements by selecting the "Daily Bulletin" link on our school's website.

Homework Online

Our teachers work hard to keep families connected to their classroom by posting homework to our website. Please be sure to review the "Homework Online" link on our school's website.

Home-School Connection Newsletter

Maybe you read something in a school newsletter and wanted to go back to review. Perhaps you missed a newsletter but heard it was worth reading. Find all of our Home-School newsletters on our school's webpage.


Want to celebrate so many of the great things happening in our schools? Sign up for our IT-Grams and IT-Grams will be sent directly to your inbox. You can also view our library of IT-Grams from our website. The screenshot below is an illustration of the form found on our website to sign up for IT-Grams.
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Let's Stay in Touch

Though decisions regarding the use of social media should be made by families, it is important to know that adolescents are increasingly drawn to this medium. The Island Trees Memorial Middle School will make every effort to model the appropriate use of social media and support your children as they navigate the digital age. Though e-mail and phone calls are still welcome and useful, we will seek to leverage the power of technology to provide school-based updates in multiple formats. To this end and to keep the lines of communication open between home and school, we ask that you consider following ITMMS on the platforms below.

We are on Remind

In addition to our newsletter, The Home-School Connection, our Twitter and Instagram pages, school website and I.T.-Grams, Island Trees Memorial Middle School would also like to invite you to join ur Remind group. Remind will be used to update you on events that must be changed or altered on short notice.

Please follow the sign-up instructions on the handout below.

Please also feel free to follow this link to join our Remind group

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Contests & Competitions

This space highlights the many programs that are geared toward middle-level learners.

Please encourage your child to participate in competitions and contests that speak to his/her passions and interests.

Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

Are you a middle of high school student who is making a difference through volunteering? Apply for a 2018 Prudential Spirit of Community Award and you could win $1,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C., in late April!

Parenting & Middle School

This section has been created to help parents and families better understand the needs and characteristics of young adolescents. The research and briefs shared below highlight the significant changes that our students are going through and the ways in which families and schools can best support our children.

Essential Resources

Please bookmark the following websites as they will be important points of reference throughout the year. Each site will be update throughout the year, providing timely and important updates regarding our academic and co-curricular programs.
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