News and Notes From Berlin Middle School 9/19/14

BMS Begins School-wide Reading and Writing Initiative

It is no secret that classrooms across the nation continue to face challenges in the areas of English Language Arts, Math, and life. As an informed school we know our demographics - we see the hardship that our students face daily either at school or at home and most importantly (as individuals and as a school community) we continue to support our students, their families, and each another. Although there are many day-to-day things we cannot control, there are many things we can, one of which is how well our students progress academically and behaviorally while they are with us. How do we meet rigorous national standards while continuing to foster our students' love of reading and writing?

As BMS continues to glean information from data received over the summer, it remains clear that the best ways in which to support our students in the areas of English Language Arts and Math is to each take a piece of the pie/3.14. We mentioned in the faculty meeting on Superintendent's Conference Day 2 that each teacher has responsibility for teaching reading, writing, speaking, and thinking in their content areas - becoming Literacy Masters!

As you know, the ELA Department will lead the charge this year and beyond; Ariel, Kristen, Amy, and Melissa are presently working hard analyzing data from last year and this year as well as creating the conditions necessary to be able to acquire current reading levels of every student through Scholastic Reading Inventory. With this data, they will be assisting one another and us to chart a meaningful path for BMS and our students. Although we all teach varying forms of literacy components in our classrooms - now, our boats will be motoring in the same direction, working in unison, as we tackle the elusive big fish that is Literacy.

Ariel Gilbert, ELA Department Chair, mentioned that the ELA Department would like to begin work with the Literacy Leadership Team and teachers are encouraged to communicate their interest for being on this team with her directly. Already the ELA Department is initiating reading/writing groups as well as formulating school-wide incentive programs for students to build their drive and determination in reading and writing.

As I watch Maya Angelou below, I'm reminded of the power of two words: data and kids - how, at our core, these two words seem almost counterintuitive at times. This is the essential question for us as educators:

How do we reconcile what we know is good for kids with what's being asked of us as educators in today's climate?

Sometimes it is not only the "what" that drives us, but the "how." The "what" is [raising student achievement] and the "how" is [together, with integrity].

Read, write, think, feel, teach, learn, love, be...share, repeat.


PS: Interesting Article Here -

Dr. Maya Angelou on the Power of Words - Oprah's Master Class - Oprah Winfrey Network

Student Council "BLUE" Passes

As BMS continues to celebrate students who are doing the right thing and remain active in the school community, all M.S.S.C. members in grades 7 and 8 will receive an ID badge. In 6th grade only the M.S.S.C. class officers will receive ID badges. The ID badges will be used in place of written passes and ONLY during a study hall time for the following: Recycling, selling icons, updating the Middle School Student Council bulletin board, and helping Mrs. Gilbert to organize for M.S.S.C. events. If you feel a student is abusing this privilege, contact Mrs. Ariel Gilbert, Student Counsel Advisor, immediately.

Art Department News

From the Art Department: "Olympics of the Visual Arts (OVA) is totally new this year. Also Art Club is new in the sense that it’s geared towards Multicultural Art this year so if any teachers want to collaborate on an Art Club activity to make it interdisciplinary, they can certainly let us know and join us for that Art Club meeting. "

More information about dates and meeting times can be found on the Art Department web page here:

School Spirit Fridays!

What better way to support our students on their path to college and career readiness than wearing your school spirit wear on Fridays; let's get it going, folks! Students will also be encouraged to wear green and gold to show BMS school spirit. We will announce this on Thursday afternoons. Let us know other ways that could raise school spirit - Go Mountaineers!
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Saturday, Oct. 11th, 10am-2pm

17400 New York 22

Cherry Plain, NY

Fallfest is a wonderful tradition in the Berlin Central School District; it's a great way for school clubs and organizations to raise money for their causes. Outside vendors are also encouraged to set-up their wares for sale. Great food, great people. We hope you are able to join us as we celebrate fall and the community! Please, see Ariel Gilbert for more details about how you can become a part of this event. Feel free to respond to this event if you are able to make it!

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

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Jason M. Breh, Principal - Berlin Middle School

Berlin Middle School is a rural public school in Upstate New York serving students in grades six through eight.