MERMS Weekly Newsletter: 9.7.15

September 7, 2015

Kickoff to School

Wednesday and Thursday brought some hot and humid weather to school! Our amazing staff did a fantastic job welcoming our students to school, getting to know students, setting up routines, and kicking off our school year. Each grade handles welcoming students in a slightly different way, ranging from homeroom introductions to rotations between classroom to ice breakers to getting get to know one another. Our first day of school, September 2, ended with an all school assembly. The school year kickoff assembly focused on themes of our core values (perseverance, exploration, responsibility, community and kindness), growth and reflection, and taking healthy risks. We tied this in to our all-school summer read, Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. If you or your child have not yet read it, it's not too late! You should - it's a great book with great lessons and themes. You can view the full kickoff assembly presentation here.

On Thursday morning, students learned who their assigned H Block advisor would be for the school year. Don't forget to ask your child who their advisor is! This person will serve as a trusted adult for a small group of students - under 15 - around which students and staff will discuss our school's core values, reflect, set goals, and support the social and emotional learning of our students. Students engaged in an activity that began with an ice breaker, we further discussed core values, and talked about setting goals, taking risks, and created a fish (imagery from Fish In A Tree) that reflects their strengths, weaknesses, an area of growth, and something about which they would like to learn more. We hung these fish around the school. You can view the full H Block lesson here.

We look forward to meeting a few times per month with our H Block groups! It was a fun and effective way to kick off the school year.

Tuesday, 9/8 will begin a regular Day 1 schedule.

Picture Day: Friday, 9/11/15

This Friday, 9/11/15, will be picture day at the middle school. Coffee Pond will again be taking student photos. If you would like to order student photos, you have two options this year:

  1. Return the Coffee Pond form that went home with your child the first day of school. Please have your child bring it back on Friday, and include payment directly to Coffee Pond in the Coffee Pond form.
  2. Place your order school photos online, directly with Coffee Pond, by going to: Coffee Pond Online Order Form. Here, you may place your photo order and pay online. If you choose this option, your child will not need to bring anything to school on Friday.

All students will have their photo taken on Picture Day - this is so we have a digital picture for Aspen. There is no cost for your child to do this, and there is no need to order a photo package.

If you would like to purchase a photo package, but this expense poses a hardship for your family, please email Lead Learner Steve Guditus no later than Wednesday, September 9. Partial and full financial assistance is available.

Middle School Fall Production: Seussical, Jr.!

Nicole Leotsakos, Performing Arts Director for The Y Theatre Company, will visit all three middle school lunches this coming Tuesday, September 8. Nicole will share information on this coming fall's musical, Seussical Jr. No experience is necessary - only a desire to have fun and try something new! Everyone who auditions will get cast. All rehearsals will be held at MERMS. Students only need to attend rehearsals for their specific character; specific time commitments vary by role.

Important Dates:

  • Monday, 9/14, 2:30-4:30pm: Auditions in the Auditorium
  • Tuesday, 9/15, 2:30-4:30pm: Auditions in the Auditorium (please be prepared to sing a song of your choice)
  • Monday, 9/21, 2:30-4:30pm: Callbacks in Auditorium
  • Tuesday, 9/22, 2:30-4:30pm: First rehersal
  • Tuesday, 9/22 @ 6pm: Parent/Guardian Meeting in Auditorium

For more information, please contact Brittany Paskos, Production Director, at

Temperature This Week

This week will bring humidity and possibly record-breaking heat. You can help us ensure students are learning by:

  • Sending your child in with a water bottle (a disposable poland spring water bottle is fine);
  • Encouraging your child to stay hydrated;
  • Encouraging your child to dress in cool (and appropriate) clothing.

The #1 reason for students not feeling well during high temperatures is dehydration.

We certainly welcome donations of fans or lending of fans for the week, if you are not using them at home. If you would like to lend us a fan for this week, please send your child in with a fan, labeled with your child's last name (we will have tape in the main office), and have him/her deliver it to the grade level team leader (listed below) first thing in the morning. Thank you for your consideration! Students may pick fans back up on Friday afternoon at the end of the day.

  • 6th Grade: Mr. Schlegel (Room A109)
  • 7th Grade: Mrs. Whittredge (Room A221)
  • 8th Grade: Mrs. Vosseler (A308) or Mrs. Plante (A309)

Who you gonna call?

Below is listed a chart to help clarify our chain of communication in the middle school. This chart comes directly from our student/parent-guardian handbook. To contact the educators listed in the roles below, you can go to our middle school staff list, posted on our middle school website or directly at Middle School Staff Page.
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MERMS Handbook

The 2015-2016 MERMS Handbook can be accessed directly at our school website, (be sure to scroll down), or by clicking here.

All students and parents/guardians are required to sign off that they have reviewed our middle school handbook. Please complete and return the sheet that your child brought home the first day of school.

MERMS Day Calendar

The middle school day calendar, which lists what day of our six day cycle it is, has been published. It was revised on 9.21.15. You may access it here:

2015-2016 Middle School Day Calendar

Middle School Open House: Wednesday, 9/16/15 @ 7pm

All parents and guardians are invited to attend Middle School Open House at 7pm. The program will consist of a welcome from Mr. Guditus and shortened class periods with your child's teachers, where you will learn more about them as educators, and what your child's classes have in store for them this year! The program typically wraps up by 8:30pm.

Staying In Touch

Don't forget: there are five ways to stay in touch and up-to-date with MERMS:

  1. Be sure your Aspen account is up-to-date with correct email information. Please contact Mrs. Hunt if you need to confirm or correct any information. You will receive a contact confirmation page this week - please be sure to correct any contact information, and return it to your child's homeroom teacher.
  2. Our Twitter page: links to articles, photos, videos, announcements, reminders and more! (no need to sign up for Twitter - you can simply view the feed of information).
  3. Our Facebook page: if you "like" our page, you will get updates with articles, photos, videos, announcements and reminders. If you are signed up for Facebook, simply search for "Manchester-Essex Regional Middle School" or go to: and click the "Like" button.
  4. Use RemindHQ: this service will send period updates as text messages to your phone (generally, once a week with a link to our newsletter). To sign up, text "@merms01944" to the text address 81010. You may unsubscribe anytime.
  5. Log into Aspen. This resource has a family portal (which connects all your children in MERSD under one username) and a student portal (which allows your child to view his/her grades). 7th and 8th graders are already logged in; 6th grade families will get login information sent home this week. You can get your password reset at anytime by emailing Mrs. Hunt or Mr. Guditus. Aspen will be teachers' main means of communicating academic progress to you - please be sure to log in every two weeks.

Middle School Clubs and Activities

More information will be shared this week or next for middle school clubs. Generally speaking, we give school a week or two before beginning clubs. When it is released, we make morning announcements with information, update our middle school clubs/activities webpage (on our school website), and put sign up information in this weekly newsletter.

Manchester-Essex Apparel Sale

Check out our Manchester-Essex School Spirit Store. A percentage of the cost is donated back to our PTO, Parents of Manchester-Essex Middle School (PMEMS). Items ship directly to your home with a flat $8 shipping rate. To order, you can go directly to:

8th Grade Girls Volleyball Club

Manchester Parks and Rec is offering a volleyball club open to students in grades 8-12. For more information, please read this info flyer. You can register your child by going to and clicking on "High School Programs."

Welcome New Staff!

We are excited to welcome the following new staff to Manchester-Essex Regional Middle School this year!

  • Amy Coleman, Cafeteria/Recess Monitor
  • Liz Eichenberger, Teaching Assistant in SWING Program
  • Kathy Ells, Math and Science
  • Jane Foye, Grade 6 English Long-Term Substitute
  • Olivia Gale, Grade 6 Foreign Language
  • Joe Janack, Middle/High School Band Director and General Music
  • Cori Krajewski, Physical Education
  • Johanna McEvoy, IRWL Program Teacher
  • Joan McWhorter, English and Social Studies
  • Christine Noviello, Teaching Assistant in IRWL Program
  • Megan O'Shea, MSW Counseling Intern
  • Chris Simbliaris, Engineering and Makerspace
  • Del Vollink, Middle/High School Digital Learning Specialist

Please join me in welcoming these new staff to our awesome learning community! If you would like to read more about these or any of our staff, please go to our MERMS Meet The Staff Page!

Upcoming Events

Middle School Picture Day

Friday, Sep. 11th, 8am

36 Lincoln Street

Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA

Please send your child with the completed Coffee Pond form and payment, or pre-register your child for pictures online at, select "Manchester" and "MERMS." See blurb above in this newsletter for more information.

Middle School Open House

Wednesday, Sep. 16th, 7-8:30pm

36 Lincoln Street

Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA

Please join us for an opportunity to meet and greet with your child's teachers!

Early Release @ 11:30am

Wednesday, Sep. 23rd, 11:30am

36 Lincoln Street

Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA

Lunches will not be served on this day.

PTO Meeting (Parents of Manchester-Essex Middle School)

Friday, Sep. 25th, 8:30-10am

36 Lincoln Street

Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA

Open to all! Please join us to help discuss how to support our students at MERMS. Feel free to drop in.

Middle School Theater Parent/Guardian Info Session

Tuesday, Sep. 22nd, 6-7pm

36 Lincoln Street

Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA