Cougars ROAR: TEMS Community News

Issue V: January 27, 2023

Principal's Message

TEMS rang in the new year by revisiting academic and social goals. Associate Principals and School Counselors have been meeting with teams to reinforce our commitment to our R.O.A.R. values of Respect, Ownership, Acceptance and Resilience. Many students participated in our Cougars R.O.A.R. workshops by designing team T-shirts, posters, and slogans that promote our school expectations.

TEMS has launched many new student leadership initiatives over the last month. Twenty-four students attended the CAS Middle Level Student Leadership Conference on January 13th. The focus of their learning was on building a climate of acceptance, making a positive difference at school, and positive social networking. Additionally, all of our TEMS students participated in the democratic process during our Student Council elections this month. Our Student Council representatives have been identified for each team and they will be working on kindness initiatives during the month of February.

On January 20th we hosted a school wide activity night that featured music, movies, crafts, and activities in both gyms. That same evening parents were invited to a special presentation focused on social relationships, social media and bullying. We were thrilled to have over 100 parents in attendance. In partnership with the South Windsor Youth and Family Services and the South Windsor Police Department, we welcomed Jo Ann Freiberg and Patricia Ciccone as our guest speakers. Both educational leaders are well known for their work with schools and districts to support efforts to establish positive school environments. It was wonderful to learn more about how we can foster a relationship between home and school that keeps our children safe and supported.

Everyday our primary effort is to promote a positive learning environment. To this end, we continue to work diligently to ensure that our curriculum and instruction are culturally relevant and responsive to the diverse identities, experiences and perspectives of our students. In addition to academic content, we aim to involve students in a greater self-awareness and empathy. We are grateful for your partnership in speaking with your child(ren) to reinforce the importance of showing respect and care for all members of our community and expecting such for themselves.

Thank you for everything you do to make TEMS great. You can look forward to an invitation for a follow up session related to school climate and youth trends offered this spring. Have a wonderful February!

Entertainers Presents: Matilda Jr.

TEMS Entertainers are proud to present Matilda, Jr. as our spring performance. Come enjoy the story of Matilda- who has astonishing wit, intelligence... and special powers! She dreams of a better life when she finally catches a break and meets a spectacular schoolteacher, the highly loveable Miss Honey. Matilda's school life isn't completely smooth sailing, however – the school's mean headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, loathes children and just loves thinking up new punishments for those who don't abide by her rules. But Matilda has courage and cleverness in equal amounts, and could be the school pupils' saving grace!

Spring performances are scheduled for:

  • Thursday, March 2nd at 7:00
  • Friday, March 3rd at 7:00
  • Saturday, March 4th at 1:00 and 7:00

More information about ticket sales will be shared in February.

School Counseling Information

  • Grade 8 Parent & Guardian Night at SWHS was on 1/10/23. To access the presentation, please click here. As the Course Selection process begins, families will begin to receive detailed communications from the School Counseling department.

  • Grades 6 & 7: The Course Selection process will begin in March. At that point, families will begin to receive detailed communications from the School Counseling department.

Teaching and Learning: News from Our Instructional Coaching Team

Mrs. Alison Fetta and Mr. Kent Besocke are instructional coaches that support faculty and staff in providing instruction that meets the needs of our diverse learners at TEMS.

Listening involves action. Listeners must engage and be participants in all conversations. Without this effort, listening can be a very passive activity. So how can we help our children become more active listeners at home and in school?

Active listening skills include:

  • Using body language (eye contact, nodding, facial expressions, etc.)

  • Asking questions

  • Paraphrasing the speakers thoughts and ideas

  • Contributing to the conversation (adding on)

Practicing active listening skills at home will support your child’s success with classroom discussions, debates, and overall learning.

Tech Tip for Families: News from Our Technology Content Coach

Mrs. Debbie Matchett is our school's Technology Content Coach. She supports educators, students, and families in navigating technological tools that can enrich educational experiences.

Does your child use Snapchat or Instagram? Are you not entirely sure what those apps are, how they work or if they are safe to use. Common Sense Media created a Parents’ Ultimate Guide to Snapchat and Instagram. Both guides are great resources that will address questions you may have.

Technology, Social Media and our Middle School Students

As we close the second quarter we wanted to share a quick reminder about the use of personal devices during the school day. Cell phones, Apple watches, AirPods, headphones, and cameras may pose a significant distraction to learning. The school expectation is that they are off and kept out of sight during school hours and activities, except as specifically permitted by instructional staff. We recognize that families depend on cell phones to communicate important information to students, but we also ask that if you need to reach your child during the school day that you call the main office at 860-648-5030. We will make sure that your child receives necessary messages.

In addition to the impact on instruction, we know that social media use both in and outside of school affects our children's overall well being. With many social applications having a minimum age requirement of 13, we are hoping to partner with families to help delay access to these platforms that are intended for older audiences. More than anything, we hope to maintain a learning environment that fosters a sense of belonging and safety for each child.

The following tips may help guide conversations about social media:

  1. Set the tone. Begin conversations in a calm, neutral way. Taking a nonjudgmental approach when talking about social media with your child can help create open, trusting relationships, which will help your child feel comfortable talking about their online presence.
  2. Ask before you tell. Ask your child what apps or platforms they’re using. Let them teach you how they work. Ask questions to understand the appeal and the way they like to use the platform.
  3. Lead by example. Parents and guardians are the most influential models for our children. Talk to your child about how you use social media in a healthy way, and let your child know that they can come to you with any questions or concerns.
  4. Stay calm. If you find out your child has been using a site inappropriately or engaging in behavior you don’t approve of, stay calm. It’s important to gather information and let them know you appreciate them telling you.
  5. Talk about permanence and privacy. Let them know that what’s posted online is permanent. Then go through the platform’s privacy settings to make sure their information and activity is secure. Tell them that they should only connect with and talk to people that they know in real life.
  6. Describe positive and negative online behavior. It’s important to speak nicely to others online, in a similar way that you’d speak to them in person. You may let them know about cyberbullying and inappropriate messaging. Talk about how to recognize this negative online behavior and what to do if they see it or are the target of it.

(WebMD Grow, "How to Talk to Your Kids About Social Media")

Winter STAR Assessments

Students took their winter STAR assessments earlier this month. You can expect to see your child's scores by February 10th sent through PowerSchool Secure Document Delivery. Here are a few important to remember:

  • Star Assessments are short tests that provide teachers with personalized learning data for each student.
  • Star Assessment reports do not include student's specific response to questions.
  • Star tests are computer adaptive, which means they adjust in difficulty to each answer students provide. This helps teachers get the best data to help students in the shortest amount of testing time
  • We are sharing a student’s Percentile Rank (PR). A Percentile Rank ranges from 1–99 and compares student performance to other students in the same grade nationwide. For example, a student with a percentile rank score of 37 performed as well as or better than 37 percent of other students in the same grade nationally.
  • The scores are used to help plan instruction and to match resources to learners.
  • Class placement, access to enrichment or intervention, or other individual student decisions are NEVER made based on one score on assessment. We ALWAYS consider a student’s performance across multiple measures over time.
  • The purpose of sharing scores is to communicate a student's achievement and growth throughout the academic year.

TEMS Athletics

Spring sports registration will open on February 27th and close on March 24th. Spring sports that are offered are baseball, softball, and track & field. Tryouts will take place the last week of March and/or the first week of April depending on which sport you are trying out for.

Volleyball intramurals will take place right after February break. Students can talk to their physical education teacher if interested. Registration will be online.

TETV Morning News

The daily TETV Morning News serve as our primary vehicle for communicating important information to students each day. This is where students can learn about upcoming events, tryouts, clubs and activities, and current events. In addition to playing during homeroom each day you can access the daily news on our school website.

South Windsor Community Atheltics

  • Please see this flyer about a FREE opportunity to try boys and girls lacrosse.
  • Please see this flyer for more information about SW Boys Lacrosse.
  • Please see this flyer for more information about SW Girls Lacrosse.
  • Please see this flyer for more information about Speed and Agility Camp being offered this summer through SW Parks and Recreation.

South Windsor Teen Center

We value our partnership with South Windsor Youth and Family Services. Please see the information about upcoming events and resources below.
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