Marinette Middle School News

November 2017


From the Principal’s Desk

Marinette Middle School: Anchored in the Journey of the Whole Student

The early teenage years is notoriously known as one of the hardest periods of a person’s life. This can give the middle school a bad rap as being the least favorable school experience for young people as well. But why is that? Thinking back to my middle school years, I think that it had to do with all of the social uncertainty, emotional and physical changes more than it had to do with anything else. I would be comfortable going out on a limb and saying that most people would agree with me. I don’t think I have ever heard that the middle school years are hard because of the academics.

These social, emotional, and physical stressors is a large part of the reason why the middle school (vs. the junior high school) concept developed over the course of the last half-century. That’s right, the middle school model (a school consisting of grades 6 through 8) started developing in the late 1960’s! Central to the middle school philosophy is the emphasis of relationship building and social/emotional development.

Social skills have become an ever more important part of what employers, not only specific to the Marinette County area, but also the State of Wisconsin, the United States, and globally, are looking for in their new employees. Sure there are plenty of other skills that employers are interested in as well, but time-and-time again, employers are heard saying that they want new employees to come in with strong skills in teamwork, communication, collaboration, and problem-solving, as well as others.

The School District of Marinette has heard this loud and clear. Over the last three years, our district has been involved, and continues to be involved in, a rapid cycle of academic curriculum reviews. Most recently, the Marinette Middle School and Marinette High School has adopted the CPM Mathematics curriculum. Prior to that, the school district’s K-12 Literacy team adopted a workshop model curriculum through the Center for the Collaborative Classroom. Both of these curriculums were selected in part because of the emphasis that these academic curriculums place upon the social development of the student.

In both of the aforementioned curriculums, the students receive direct instruction in how to collaborate and communicate with each other. They also learn a great deal about teamwork; in the CPM Mathematics curriculum each student is assigned a group role when working with their teams on a daily basis. Students are required to talk about their learning in either Literacy or Mathematics, and provide feedback to each other - not relying solely on the feedback from the teacher. Regular practice of all of these strategies, and many others not mentioned here, will continue to grow the social skills of our MMS students. Fortunately, students are exposed to social skill development through other means as well while at MMS; however, it is great that we have been able to adopt an academic curriculum with a strong focus on the social and emotional needs of the middle school student.

If you have any questions about either the CPM Mathematics curriculum, the Reader’s/Writer’s Workshop curriculum mentioned above, or the social and/or emotional development of your middle school student, please do not hesitate to contact me at or (715)735-1505.


From the Associate Principal’s Desk

As Mr. Whisler wrote, the middle school philosophy centers on a commitment to academic, social, and emotional needs of each student, otherwise known as meeting the needs of the “whole child.” At MMS we have put this philosophy to action by providing social, emotional, and behavioral support to our students. Supports and programs include:

Trusted Adult Philosophy: at MMS it is our goal that every student in our building can identify an adult here at school that he/she feels safe talking to about non-academic concerns;

Restoration Room: our Restoration Room is an area that is staffed by Mr. Hendrick and Mr. Schwaba. The Restoration Room staff provides academic, behavioral, social, and emotional supports for students on a day-to-day basis;

Check-in/Check-out: an opportunity for students and parents to receive hourly feedback on academic and behavioral progress;

Check & Connect: entails a student being assigned to an adult mentor which he/she meets with daily for 5-10 minutes. The goal of this intervention is to establish a positive and trusting relationship between mentor and mentee;

Social/Academic Intervention Groups: a brief period of re-teaching for students that need support understanding and meeting school-wide expectations;

Social-Emotional Learning Groups: a more intense group taught by Mrs. Sexton, our School Social Worker, that lasts for 9 weeks and meets daily during Anchor Hour. Students develop and practice skills such as coping with trauma, managing conflict, reducing anxiety, and more; and

On-Site Counseling: Marinette School District has partnered with Bellin Health and CESA 8 to provide one-on-one counseling services right here at MMS

Office, Student Services, and Teaching professionals meet regularly to assess behavioral, academic, and attendance data and ensure that information relevant to student success is communicated effectively. If you feel as though your child may benefit from any of the services listed above please contact the Middle School office to be directed to the appropriate staff member.

Thank you students and parents/guardians for your commitment to improving MMS attendance. We are off to a great start! Homebase attendance has ranged between 92% and 97% thus far.

What is this thing called an SGP?

As MMS students continue to grow and reflect on their academics, they will hear, and, hopefully, start discussing their “SGP” with their trusted adults. SGP, otherwise known as Student Growth Percentile, is part of our school-wide academic goals throughout the school district. The SGP is a measure (on a scale of 0 to 99) of a students academic skill GROWTH between two assessments. The power of the SGP comes from the fact that it compares the student against other students that had similar assessment scores. In other words, if Student A has a score of 25 on her first assessment, after she takes the second assessment, Student A’s growth will be compared to other students across the nation that received a score of 25 on their first assessment. So, instead of comparing apples to oranges, we are comparing apples to apples.

A word of caution, however. A student’s SGP WILL change from assessment to assessment. Each time that a student takes the assessment (even if back to back days), there is the potential for the SGP to vary. The growth is all dependent on the comparable growth of other students that had a similar score as the student taking the assessment.

So, what SGP is a good SGP? If a student’s SGP is between 40 and 60, this indicates that the student is making approximately one year of growth. In otherwords, if at the end of the year a student has a SGP between 40 and 60, they are exactly where we would have expected them to be. Still, the middle school’s goal is to have every student receive an SGP larger than 60. A SGP of 60 or more shows that a student is making more than a year’s worth of progress. This is important as it shows that the student is gaining ground on his/her peers across the United States. If a student’s SGP is below 40, the student is not making the desired growth. The student’s team of adults should discuss ways to assist the student with making growth.

SGP is only one measure that the school is using to show student growth in academics. It is important to remember that there are many ways that a student shows growth, and some of them can’t be measured by a test. If you have any questions about your individual student’s academic growth, please do not hesitate to reach out to your student’s teacher or the school Student Services staff and/or administration.

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Thank you if you joined us for our first round of Fall Parent/Teacher Conferences on Thursday, November 2nd. If you were not able to join us, our second round of Fall Parent/Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Wednesday, November 8th from 3:30pm - 6:30pm. We look forward to seeing you there.

Parent/Teacher Organization (PTO) and Booster Club

The MMS PTO and Booster Club had their first meeting Tuesday, October 3 at 6:30pm in the MMS LMC. We will be meeting again on Wednesday, November 15th at 6:30pm in the Marinette Middle School LMC. We are in the beginning stages of organization, as MMS has not had a formal PTO for a number of years. Therefore, if you would like to be part of positively effecting your middle school student’s educational experience and supporting the staff that regularly interact with your student, join us


November 3

MS Dance

5th-6th grade-3:00pm-5:00pm

7th-8th grade-6:00pm-8:00pm

students will not be allowed in the building after 6:20

November 8, 2017

Parent Teacher Conferences


November 8, 2017

End of Quarter 1

November 14-15, 2017

Middle School Vision Testing

November 22-24, 2017

No School/Thanksgiving Break

December 2, 2017

Holiday Craft Show


Printable November 2017 calendar

Please find below a link to Middle School November Calendar! We hope that this will help you to know when important events are happening at the Middle School! Please refer to Middle School website for daily updates.

Calendar of events

MMS After School Clubs

In an effort to keep parents and guardians connected to all of the various opportunities that MMS students have available to them, various MMS Before School and After School offerings will be listed. Please look for information in the daily announcements as well as with your student as information about school clubs may be sent home.

Current MMS Club Offerings

Game Club

MinecraftEdu STEAM Club

Art Club

World Drumming

Be On the Lookout For…


Do you like to laugh? Do you like to perform? Do you want to gain confidence in your public speaking skills? MMS will be offering a Forensics team this year for students in grades 5 - 8, but we need to know the number of students that are interested before we can set practice and meeting times. Students interested in joining the MMS Forensics team, please see Mr. Schwaba or inquire in the main office.

September's Homebase Attendance Award

Congratulations to Mr. Walker's homebase class for receiving the best attendance for September. He had the most students in attendance for the month.

Spider Cookie Lab-Ms. Couch's Class

November Middle Years Newsletter

Check out this month’s edition of Middle Years. Topics covered include: Respect, Self-Conscious Tweens, Student Conferences, and much more.

Middle Years - November 2017