The Weekly Buzz

A Weekly Newsletter from Corner Middle School

Volume I, Issue 7: October 13, 2019

My Why . . .

In this issue of The Weekly Buzz, we are sharing the last of our staff photos that illustrate our school theme this year honing in on "our why," or, why is it that we do what we do as educators at Corner Middle School.


Check the gallery below to learn the "whys' of a few of our staff members. If you are a Twitter user, you can also check out some regular examples of #mywhy at our Twitter page @CornerMiddle. We have enjoyed sharing everyone's why over the past month and look forward to demonstrating those whys through the course of the year!

Attendance Matters

Progress reports went home with students to their parents and guardians the first week of October. It is about this time each year that our staff begins the active review of attendance data. As principal, I begin signing computer-generated attendance letters warning families of excessive absences. Robo-calls are made daily notifying parents of student absences. Mrs. McAlister (our assistant principal), Ms. Whitaker (our counselor), and classroom teachers begin making personal phone calls to families to check on students. Subsequently, I go to court and stand in front of a judge with families who have excessive absences.


Parents and guardians, the state report cards come out at the end of the month giving our school an A to F grade. One of the factors that hampers our "grade" each year is our student attendance. We ask that you encourage your students to be at school daily. While we understand there is illness, deaths in families, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and family obligations, we ask that you please try to have your students at school regularly.


A student receives SEVEN absences each year that a parent may use for any reason and write a parent note excusing the absence that allows a student to make up missed work or tests. After those seven, a doctor's note is required.


Each week through the end of the year in The Weekly Buzz, we will post updated attendance data. In the table below, you will see the number of students who are already at-risk of being chronically absent. In addition, one of the attendance issues we hope to work on is the number of students who are late to school each day. School begins at 7:55. Please try to have your students in the building by 7:50 so they will have time to go to the locker and settle in for the day. The doors open each day at 7:20.


Thank you for helping us help your student by having them at school and at school on time each day!

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Individual Data Folders

If you were unable to join us at the end of last month at our CMS Connects meeting, we sent home the students' individual data folders last week. These folders contained several pieces of information. For students who are new at CMS (including students in grade 5 and those who either came from West Jefferson Elementary or transferred from an in-state school), you had a copy of your spring Scantron scores used by the state of Alabama for accountability purposes. There is also a copy for ALL STUDENTS of their fall Scantron Performance Series scores for math and reading. In addition, there was a tool to help families understand where their students fell based on their scaled scores. Finally, there was a document to help families with school communication. If you did not receive your student's folder, please ask him/her about it our call the school and we will try to assist you in getting that information home.

Corner Middle School Yearbook Information

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Two CMS Instrumentalists Selected to All-County Band

All County Band is only open to Jefcoed band students. Corner Middle School had 4 band students try out and 2 made it. By being selected, Layton Pruitt (5th chair out 6) and James Cannon (3rd chair out of 4) were recognized as being some of the top players in the county. They had to play a prepared piece that they worked on by themselves as well as sight reading.


These students will be going to Gardendale in November to put on a concert with the other band Jefcoed band members that were selected.


  • 11/13 - rehearsal at Gardendale HS, 9:00-5:00
  • 11/14 - rehearsal at Gardendale HS, 9:00-4:30
  • 11/14 - Jefcoed Instrumental Music Showcase at Gardendale HS, 7:00


The CMS Band is led by Debra Saunders. Congratulations, Layton and James on this outstanding honor!

CMS Cross Country Team ends season in county meet

The Corner Middle School boys and girls Cross Country Teams wrapped up their season last week at North Jefferson Middle School competing in the Jefferson County Cross Country Championships.


The girls' team finished second in the county, while the boys placed third in the event. Daven Lee had the best time for the boys placing 3rd individually.


The Cross Country Team, coached by Addie Williams and Clarissa McCarty is made up of . . .


Jack Aaron

Emily Blackwell

Olivia Bowman

Luke Cupps

Abbie Dodd

Mason Dougherty

Kaitlyn Hopkins

Daven Lee

Mai Martin

Ryan McNiese

Stanton Miller

Brandon Murphree

Chloe Murray

Emily Pearl

Owen Perkins

Sammy Reeser

Ray Sides

Ava Tolbert

Kali Ward

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Thoughts from the Principal . . .

My Why


When Mrs. McAlister asked for a photograph to accompany "My Why" that will go into the hall, I knew it could not be a picture of me. After all, who wants to see a picture of the principal hanging in the hall. I want people to stop and read "My Why." (That's why I chose the guy that played Superman.) In the last several weeks of The Weekly Buzz, we have shared all of our "whys" since many readers will not get to stop by the school learn about why we do what we do. So here is what I wrote (and I hope it is what I have honestly lived).


From my first day of teaching, "My Why" has always been to love my students, do my very best to teach them how to be a success in school and in life, and to do whatever it takes to help each of them achieve his or her potential. Nothing has changed in thirty years. It is my honor and privilege to be able to do this now in the community in which I was raised, in the very school I attended, and in the place I will always call home. "My Why" will continue to be the students in the community of Corner!


Sometimes I (and I know most of my educational colleagues feel very much the same way), feel like I have failed to live up to that "why" with each student I have come in contact with over my career. Time moves so quickly and I get to be such a small part of those students' educational journeys. I, however, have the rare opportunity to see many of my "grandkids" now. Those are the children of students I have taught and served as an administrator. I get to see some fruits of the labor in the community, on social media, and day-to-day in the school.


People, there is no greater job on the planet than being a teacher. Don't let the media fool you. Don't let disgruntled individuals or folks who have lost their passion taint your thoughts. Teaching is the most wonderful career! It is not for the faint of heart. It is not for people looking for something to fall back on. It is for people who are PASSIONATE about growing young people and changing lives.


I leave you with this thought. I hear all of the time how hard it must be to work with young people today. Students across time have had struggles, learning disabilities, health issues, problems at home, and behavioral issues. Kids haven't changed, Corner community. Adults have. We have created, permitted, and nurtured the very environments, situations, standards, and practices that have led us to believe there are problems with our young folks. We continue to move the line . . . blur the line . . . even erase the line between adolescence and adulthood.


I encourage you to look out for our CMS Connects in the coming months where we touch on topics and methods to not only better help our students, but to help us reflect as adults on what we can better do to assure our students' opportunities for success.

Quote of the Week . . .

"When building a team, always look for people who love to win. If you can't find any of those, search for people who hate to lose."

--H. Ross Perot--

Video of the Week . . .

Continuing our video series on MINDSET. I strongly encourage you to watch this outstanding video chat on having a GROWTH MINDSET and avoiding a FIXED MINDSET. The video also discusses the power of the word "YET."
The Mindset of a Champion | Carson Byblow | TEDxYouth@AASSofia

Calendar for the Week

Homecoming Pep Rally

Monday, Oct. 14th, 1:45pm

10005 Corner School Road

Warrior, AL

Welcome Bagley Elementary and West Jefferson Elementary!

Drama Club Practice

Monday, Oct. 14th, 3pm

10005 Corner School Road

Warrior, AL

Oakman at CMS Football

Monday, Oct. 14th, 5:30pm

10005 Corner School Road

Warrior, AL

CMS Organization Practices

Tuesday, Oct. 15th, 3pm

10005 Corner School Road

Warrior, AL

Robotics in the library.

Debate in Mrs. Boyd's room.

CMS Cheer in gym

CMS Homecoming Dance

Tuesday, Oct. 15th, 5:30-7:30pm

10005 Corner School Road

Warrior, AL

In the Competition Gymnasium

First Priority in the Library

Wednesday, Oct. 16th, 7:30am

10005 Corner School Road

Warrior, AL

CMS Cheer Practice

Wednesday, Oct. 16th, 3pm

10005 Corner School Road

Warrior, AL

CMS Organization Practices

Thursday, Oct. 17th, 3pm

10005 Corner School Road

Warrior, AL

Robotics in the library.

Debate in Mrs. Boyd's Room

Cheer in the gym

CMS Cheer at Cowboys

Thursday, Oct. 17th, 5pm

1309 Decatur Highway

Gardendale, AL

FBLA Meeting in Mrs. Wiley's Room

Friday, Oct. 18th, 7:30am

10005 Corner School Road

Warrior, AL

Kona Ice at CMS for Grades 7 & 8

Friday, Oct. 18th, 2:15pm

10005 Corner School Road

Warrior, AL

CMS Cheer Practice

Sunday, Oct. 20th, 1:45pm

10005 Corner School Road

Warrior, AL

Corner Middle School

Corner Middle School is committed to building a foundation for college, career, and community success in a nurturing environment.


The mission of Corner Middle School is to serve our community of learners by:

· Utilizing highly-effective instruction and a challenging curriculum.

· Meeting the needs of diverse learners in order to prepare them for college and entry into the work force.

· Partnering with the community.

· Cultivating student leaders.

· Integrating technology into all areas of learning.