School Community Newsletter 9/15/2020
Dear Parents and Guardians:
This third week of instruction hopefully has your middle schooler experiencing a greater sense of comfort in the remote learning routines, increased break time between classes, and fewer technology glitches. The first couple of weeks of school are always exhausting. Coming off of summer vacation always requires an adjustment period and this year it is further exacerbated by our current pandemic. Please know that we recognize that this remote learning situation is challenging, and we feel it too. As a result, we are working to create a better balance with our rigor and in our daily routines.
This week we are striving to find ways to build in frequent movement breaks, opportunities to hydrate and snack, and to create more time to work asynchronously. These healthy habits for remote learning are essential and we hope to assist the students to incorporate these pieces into the daily routine. That said, many thanks for the patience and flexibility that has been demonstrated as we work, learn, and grow together in the best practices for safe and effective remote instruction.
We are proud to share that student online daily attendance rates are above the 95% range. Most students are showing up to class on time and with great big smiles on their faces. (Okay, that last one is a bit of a stretch, but they are showing up!) Students are problem-solving, engaging, and sharing with one another more and more each day. They are learning to navigate Schoology, Zoom breakout rooms, and they are building their toolbox of skills. All the while, we are enjoying getting to know them and your family pets.
During this time of information overload, we are trying to condense our TMS communication into two monthly newsletters. Here are some important highlights:
- 6th, 7th, & 8th Grade Curriculum Night Details & Schedule (Thursday, 9/24)
- Fall MAP Testing Details & Schedule (Thursday, 9/24)
- Thrively Advisory Day (Friday, 9/25 is a Monday Advisory Schedule)
- Team Office Hours (AKA - Homework Club or 11th Hour)
- LMC Outdoor Book Check Out & Book Return
- A Message from the TMS Social Workers
- 8th Grade Class of 2021 Spirit Wear
- PTA Spirit Wear & PTA Amazon Smile Fundraising Info
- 2019-2020 Yearbook SALE!! (We have extras for $25)
- TMS Extra-Curricular Activities (Cross Country, DEN Club, Student Council)
If you're finding that your child needs additional academic support, please review the after school Office Hour structure listed below. All students are welcome to utilize Office Hours and reach out to teachers for assistance after school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. In addition, should your child need social-emotional support at this time, please see the TMS social work letter below.
We are grateful for your partnership and look forward to meeting you at Curriculum Night!
The TMS Admin Team
~ Lori, Greg, & Nick
FALL NWEA Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) TESTING INFORMATION
Each year, District 25 administers several state and local assessments to our students. Specifically, the computerized MAP format is:
- aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards
- assesses students in reading and mathematics
- is an adaptive test, which means that test questions adapt to each student’s ability level as they navigate the assessment.
This fall, the information obtained from these assessments will...
- be administered remotely
- be mindful of the students’ and teachers’ instructional time
- help teachers design differentiated instruction and determine who may need academic intervention
- help staff obtain a general snapshot of students’ reading and math strengths and needs
- be considered in combination with additional past and present classroom and district data
- NOT be used in isolation to make any high stakes decisions, including eligibility for specialized instruction or advanced learning classes.
Great news! We are ready for Book Checkout from the Thomas LMC!
Please watch this video. The video outlines procedures put into place for students to request/place a book on hold as well as how to pick it up books at Thomas Middle School after requests have been processed.
A Message from the TMS Social Workers
As our students and families continue to deal with the challenges of pandemic closures and ever-changing plans, the social work team at Thomas would like to alert you to some resources both at TMS and in the Arlington Heights Community.
Staff at Thomas are actively working to get to know students in this new and unique format. Surveys, zoom presentations, and other activities are aimed at building rapport and attempting to create a feeling of connectedness. In addition to the team of teachers, Thomas has a social worker assigned to each grade level. They consult with teachers, administrators, and parents as well as provide direct service to some. Given that many families are on stress-overload, and students do not currently have an option to approach social workers directly, we have attached the following:
1) Social Work Support Presentation - This will allow students/parents information specific to their student’s particular grade level as well as the virtual office for which students are encouraged to visit when they are feeling stressed/overwhelmed as it has tools embedded.
2) Request for support or follow up - The request for follow up alerts us that you would like to follow up on an issue or concern.
Links to articles that provide some helpful strategies for supporting kids through the emotional stress, social isolation, and educational challenges of Covid-19 restrictions.
4) District and Community Resources: Here is a list of resources for food, housing, and other basic necessities. Community Resources
Of course, if you’d like to speak with us about any specific concerns, you are encouraged to reach out to us at the number listed below. We will do our best to return messages within 24 hours.
Wishing you all the best and looking forward to the time we can connect with each other in person!
Taylor Lindsey ~ 6th Grade
Kristine Burmeister ~ 7th Grade
Jenna Wouters ~ 8th Grade (Currently on maternity leave)
Keaton El-Talabani ~ ERP/ILP (Zeta substitute social worker)
Carrie Browne ~ Ivy Hill (Epsilon substitute social worker)
2020-2021 PTA Officers:
*President: Lucy Block
*President-Elect: Amy Hoffman
*Vice President: Melissa Teuscher
*Treasurer: Suzanne Krause * Secretary: Lisa Ulyrich
Future Meeting Dates:
* October 14. * November 17 * January 13
* February 17 * March 18 * April 20 * May 19
Link to the TMS PTA Website.
Directory Spot: The Directory Spot committee anticipates that the 2020-2021 update should be live by the end of September and we will keep the community posted on its progress.
PTA STRESS-FREE FUNDRAISING
AmazonSmile is a way for customers to support their school every time they shop with Amazon. Shoppers who start at smile.amazon.com will find the same Amazon they know and love, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the price of eligible purchases to the school of their choice. Signing up is easy.
Here's how to shop AmazonSmile:
1. Visit smile.amazon.com
2. Sign in with your Amazon.com credentials
3. Choose Thomas Middle School to receive donations
4. Start shopping!
TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES? CAN’T GET INTO A ZOOM OR GLITCHING INTERNET CONNECTION... Here's what you need to do...
If your child his having a tech issue, please reassure them that we understand and can help. Please have your child contact the TMS Tech Department when the problem occurs: ThomasTech@sd25.org or call the main office: 847-398-4260.
When teachers are in the middle of a lesson it becomes difficult to problem-solve technology. It is best to reach out for help ASAP. Teachers are taking attendance each period and on-time student attendance is expected. We encourage students to self-advocate and communicate any issues with us so we can help.
Parents, if you have questions or concerns, please contact your child’s classroom or homeroom teacher.
6th Grade Physical Forms Needed!
6th Grade Physical Forms (PLEASE TURN IN BY Oct. 1st) and Dental forms (please turn in by May 1st) are NEEDED for all 6th graders!
Please fax, email, scan, drop-off this paperwork to the office as soon as possible.
All TMS student-athletes are required to have a physical on file as well.
Chromebooks Usage Form - MUST BE COMPLETED!
PARENT ACTION ITEM: Each student will need to have this Chromebook Usage Form complete by 9/1/20.
This is a form that parents and students should complete together.
UPDATED COVID-19 INFORMATION
Website: visit www.sd25.org/COVID19 for all information that pertains to District 25 and COVID-19.