Middle School Principal Newsletter

February 2014

Transition to Middle School

Resources for Educators, Students, and Parents

A Resource Collection from Scholastic addresses many parent and student concerns, including "Success Tips from a Middle School Principal."

Fact Sheet from the Mentoring Resource Center

Here are examples of Transition Programs for students at Bayport-Blue Point School District. A School in Phoenix includes a presentation on their website for parents who cannot attend orientation.

This school provides an ongoing Transition Timeline for students and parents.

Here is a school guide to Middle School Transitions that includes activities and resource links, and another developed "for parents by parents."

PBS has a page for students that focuses on the transition to Middle School.

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Resources on Improving Climate and Behavior to Get Through the Winter

Pesky Behaviors Activity (30 minutes +)

So, we know there are behaviors that take time, effort and energy away from learning.

In Groups:

  • Have staff make a list of the most frequent behaviors that take time away from learning. Make the list with their group on (1) piece of paper
  • Share their list with the rest of the staff
  • All groups share and only share those that haven't been said
  • Create a master list of those behaviors (Big Paper)
  • Everyone gets 7 dots and puts the dots on the ones that were the most priority
  • Take a look at the dots and come up with the 2 or 3 with the most dots


  • What are assumptions that we make about that behavior? Discuss in groups
  • Have staff identify the behavior that they would WANT To SEE
  • What would be words or actions that the teacher could say or do to help achieve the desired behavior? How might you "teach" the behavior?
  • Connections to MTSS and School Improvement?

Do your teachers handle behaviors differently in their classrooms? It can drive you nuts!

Teachers have the power to Work Out problems and address behaviors so they don't have to all reach the Office. Here is a quick way to find out the thinking of your teachers and identify some areas that need discussion.

  • Break into groups
  • Divide a Big Piece of Paper in two
  • On one side write: Work it Out
  • One the other side: Office
  • Have them list those things that should be behaviors that they could Work Out with students
  • Have them list on the other side behaviors that are definitely Office offenses

What did you notice?

Did they put anything in the middle?

What list is longer?

Did some things end up on both lists?


Implications for Teachers

Implications for Office/Administrators

Why is is good to have the same list to work from?

5 Great Steps to Identify and Help Students Solve Common Issues

Many academic and behavioral problems do not stem from bad attitudes or lack of motivation, but because the child's Executive Function Skills are not fully developed. This form, based on Margaret Searle's book, Causes and Cures in the Classroom, provides an organizer to help educators problem-solve and proactively support students:

  1. Know the student. Identify his or her strengths and areas of concern.
  2. Analyze the root causes of the student's behavior in order to determine an appropriate intervention.
  3. Set a clear and measurable goal.
  4. Decide how to monitor student progress.
  5. Select an action plan from a list of options.

Do you have teachers who need help with Classroom Management?

Explore The Teaching Channel's Playlist featuring Classroom Management Strategies for various grade levels.

Here are three "Classroom Management Techniques for the New Year."

Here are some other things to think about for support of your teachers:

  • Harry Wong Book: The First Days of School with DVD
  • Visits to Another Classroom
  • Identify it in their IDP
  • Professional Development
  • Use your Mentor/Coach
  • Model-Have them Watch-They Do-Coach Watches

MTSS for Behavior...

This document from the PBIS site includes strategies and checklists for secondary classroom management.

Use this staff survey annually in the spring to assess behavior support systems in your building.

School to Prison Pipeline...

From Zero Tolerance To Instructional Approaches

Has Zero Tolerance Been Helpful or Hurtful?

In January 2014, the US Departments of Education & Justice released several guidance documents regarding school discipline. Check out the "Guiding Principles for Improving Climate and Discipline" and find action steps and resources that you can use for school improvement planning, professional development, and policy revisions.

MDE Requirements and Dates

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Upcoming Professional Development

Professional Learning Opportunities Winter Catalog

Use this link to see what's upcoming in February!

Back by Popular Demand:

Enhancing Math Instruction for Students with Learning Difficulties

Three Day Series: March 19, April 17, May 22

Click here for the flyer!