Weekly Update

February 1, 2016

Mark Your Calendars

This Week...

Tuesday, February 2

  • PTSA Meeting @ Media Center, 5:30 pm
  • Grades Due by 11:59 pm
  • Eligibility Due

Wednesday - Thursday, February 3-4

  • CBD Modeling Workshop

Thursday, February 4

  • Faculty Meeting @ Media Center, 7:00 am

Friday, February 5

  • Dutch Day - Show Your School Spirit!
  • Report Cards, NWEA reports, MSTEP Results, and Residency Forms Go Home

Saturday, February 6

  • Trivia Night (see details below)

And Next Week...

Tuesday, February 9

  • Admin Meeting (Jennifer), 9:00 am - ??
  • At-Risk Meeting @ Central, 1:00 - 3:00 pm
  • Eligibility Due

Friday, February 12

  • MS SE Team Meeting, 10:15 am



  • CBD Modeling Workshop information for this week - click here. Please be sure to also click the link in the document from Matinga that says, "What is a modeling workshop?"
  • I know that discipline is a hot topic right now, and I plan on spending some time at our staff meeting on Thursday going over some discipline issues. In the meantime, I've included an article regarding school discipline policies that you may find interesting.
  • Remember "Report A Bully?" That site is no longer being used by the district as they have changed their privacy policies. If you have a sign directing students to use that site, please remove it from your classroom. The school's website does have a link, however, for anonymous bully reporting. If new signs are made, we'll get those out to you.
  • Finding extra resources - Good teachers are always looking for ways to expand students' mastery of concepts as we are responsible for differentiating material to ensure that all learners reach their potential. It is so incredibly important, however, that you completely vett a resource before using it with your classroom whether it be a resource you've purchased (ie - from Teachers Pay Teachers), a downloable worksheet, or a new website / app. Thanks for your help to guarantee the highest quality of materials for use with our students.


  • Dream more, learn more, become more!
  • Critical information - phone extensions, schedules, timelines, emergency drills, etc.
  • Text alerts through Remind - text @mms5678 to the number 81010.

A Sea Change in School Discipline Policies

“The idea that a zero-tolerance philosophy based on punishment and exclusion could create effective learning climates has proven to be illusory,” say Russell Skiba (Indiana University) and Daniel Losen (University of California/Los Angeles) in this article in American Educator. Recent research has overwhelmingly discredited the “get tough” approach to school discipline: it isn’t effective in reducing individual misbehavior or improving school safety; frequently-suspended students are more likely to engage in antisocial behavior and get involved with the juvenile justice system; and there are often negative academic consequences for disciplined students, including lower grades and increased incidence of dropping out. In addition, the logical-sounding and politically popular zero tolerance policies have produced the most negative social and academic outcomes for students from historically disadvantaged groups. The widespread investment in security – video cameras, metal detectors, officers – has not improved most students’ sense of safety in school.

Here are the troubling statistics on the percentage of U.S. secondary students who received at least one out-of-school suspension during the 2011-12 school year (the national average was 10.1%):

- African-American – 23.2%

- Students with disabilities – 18.1%

- American Indian/Alaska Native – 11.9%

- English language learners – 11%

- Latino – 10.8%

- Hawaiian/Pacific Islander – 7.3%

- White – 6.7%

- Asian – 2.5%

Studies have revealed racial bias in suspensions and other disciplinary consequences, with African-American students more likely to receive harsher consequences for the same offenses than their white peers. Recent research also shows that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students are at increased risk of expulsion, experiencing a hostile school climate, and being stopped by the police and arrested.

The unintended consequences of harsh discipline policies have registered with many policymakers, educators, and parents, and new approaches are being implemented in many parts of the U.S. There are four types of promising alternative strategies, some of which are being implemented simultaneously:

Relationship building – Interventions that foster positive teacher-student interactions have been shown to reduce the use of suspensions and expulsions, especially for black students. Restorative practices that build relationships and repair harm after conflicts have also shown positive results (a 47 percent drop in suspension rates in the Denver Public Schools), as has the MyTeachingPartner professional development program.

Social-emotional learning – These programs aim to build students’ skills in recognizing and managing their emotions, appreciating others’ perspectives, establishing positive goals, making responsible decisions, and handling interpersonal situations effectively. When the Cleveland Metropolitan School District implemented an SEL program, it recorded a 50 percent drop in negative behavioral incidents.

Structural interventions – Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a widely-used program that focuses on staff training to prevent discipline problems. It’s had some success, although Skiba and Losen note that it needs to be supplemented with additional components to bring about the best outcomes for African-American students. For PBIS to be effective, there needs to be staff buy-in, administrative support, and the time and money to implement it consistently schoolwide. Other structural interventions include improving school climate, rewriting codes of conduct, and being systematic in responding to threats of violence.

Classroom content and climate – Another study addressing racial disparities in discipline had several specific recommendations: teachers communicating high expectations and fairness for all students; creating a bias-free and respectful environment; ensuring academic rigor; and engaging in culturally relevant and responsive teaching.

These approaches all depend on professional development, administrative support, collaboration with community agencies, well-formulated alternative strategies, increased presence of mental health and instructional support personnel in schools, working with parents to promote less-punitive approaches at home, and ongoing collection and analysis of disaggregated discipline data.

“From Reaction to Prevention: Turning the Page on School Discipline” by Russell Skiba and Daniel Losen in American Educator, Winter 2015-16 (Vol. 39, #4, p. 4-11, 44),


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Manchester Middle School

District Vision:

Educational Excellence in a Caring Community

District Purpose:

Manchester students are provided the stepping stones for success.

District Mission:

Manchester Community Schools, in partnership with parents and community, use best practices to develop the skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity in all students to ensure they are future ready.

School Mission:

To provide a secure, challenging learning environment which will empower all students to achieve their greatest potential. The MMS team joins the parents and community to assist students in developing skills necessary to become successful, responsible, contributing citizens.