The Cat's Connection

February 17, 2015

Flyin' Forward!

As the saying goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Well then, we must certainly be having fun here at LaCreole Middle School -- the year is already half over! A lot of wonderful things are happening here at school, and several more are already planned – robotics, homework club, drama, choir, band, art, Spanish, Ellis Island in 8th grade social studies, rocket launching in science, various club sports, assemblies, pictures, technology in multiple forms, and the list goes on! I encourage you to encourage your kids to find something that really interests them and then fully engage.


This year, as you may have noticed, we have ramped up our focus on technology. As a staff, whether we like it or not, technology will be a tool our students will need to be able to use in their futures near and far. Technology is everywhere! You've probably noticed as I have that our kids at times know more than we do when it comes to technology, especially the fun stuff. A key focus has been to help our teachers catch up a bit with technology. We have incorporated staff development sessions to help with integration of technology into learning activities.


Yes, we have fun with technology here at school, but our fun comes in the form of using technology to learn! I want you to know we are very purposeful when it comes to student use of technology at school. Students use computers and mobile devices to connect with teachers, collaborate on projects, and be creative. Students have learned that technology, whether a cell phone or a laptop, can be used as a powerful tool for learning. This year, even our state testing will utilize technology. This spring, students will be taking state language and math tests using Chromebooks, and our first-semester science students have already used Chromebooks for OAKS science tests. We've been practicing, making sure everything is in working order and students are familiar with the technology they will be using. Kids are picking it up very well. Why am I not amazed?


With the increase of technology use at LaCreole, we have been purposeful in our instruction toward its use. As a part of each student's LaCreole experience, we provide a curriculum that focuses on what it means to be a good digital citizen. Every student will at least have a class on digital literacy and digital citizenship each year in addition to what they are getting in their regular classes as they work through projects involving technology with their teachers. Student safety is our priority when students are using digital tools for their learning activities. While students are at school and accessing our Internet, a heavy duty filter system is in place to protect them and the work they produce.


We have utilized many resources from Common Sense Media, an online resource for parents, students, and teachers. If you would like to learn more about digital citizenship and increase your own digital literacy, check out the following link: http://www.commonsensemedia.org


Technology is a tool for learning. It doesn't replace what goes on in the classroom, but only enhances learning and enables teachers to do more with their students. We have great teachers using a great tool, and we expect great things!


Here's looking forward to more fun!

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Has Arrived

This year our students will be taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC) for the first time. The SBAC has taken the place of our traditional Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) and is aligned to our new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Lots of acronyms, which can and have gotten confusing! As a district we have been trying to understand the expectations of the Smarter Balanced assessment as parts of the assessment will be similar, but others will be a bit alien to our students. We have been working in our grade level teams to offer students multiple practice opportunities with emphasis on technical skills.


What we know for sure is the rigor will be far greater than our students have been asked to demonstrate in past years. This is not a bad thing! This style of assessment will allow students to demonstrate deeper thinking and communication of their ideas, as opposed to traditional multiple choice options. At LaCreole, getting our students to think critically and improve their communication in all areas has been our focus. We like thinkers! Though we know students may at first struggle with this type of assessment, we also understand that in the long run their broad skill level will allow them to be successful on future assessments.


What will the assessments cover?

The Smarter Balanced assessments measure real-world skills in English and math, such as analytical reading, persuasive writing, and problem solving.


Beginning in 2015, in addition to providing composite scores in those two subjects, score reports will provide information on student performance in the following areas:


English: reading, writing, listening, and research


Math: concepts and procedures, problem solving and modeling/data analysis, and communicating reasoning


Want to Try Your Hand at a Practice Test?

If you are interested in trying out some sample Smarter Balanced problems, students and parents can access complete practice tests in English and math for grades 3 through 8 and 11 at http://oaksportal.org/. Follow the student links and sign in as a guest.

Wildcats Have Success Through Robotics

All four of our VEX IQ teams, which involves about 17 to 20 kids, are going to state. The competition will be March 7 at Aloha High School in the Portland area. Congratulations to our four teams -- No Brainers, Robo Nerds, Unluckies, and Cool Team Name Goes Here!

CATS OF THE MONTH - JANUARY

Congratulations to our January Cats of the Month!

6th Grade: Seyna Wynn and Faith Martin-Bail

7th Grade: Jamie English

8th Grade: Camden Frizelle

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CATS OF THE MONTH - NOVEMBER/DECEMBER

Congratulations to our November and December Cats of the Month:

6th grade: Kahl Murdock and Victoria Woolner

7th grade: Allison Abel and Madison Friesen

8th grade: Mariah Brehm and Learner Howe

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400 Students at No-Tardy Party!

Wow! 400 of our students had no tardies this past nine weeks. Not a single tardy in any class. None. Zippo. Zero! They all had a great time at our No-Tardy Party! Way to go, Wildcats!

PANORAMIC PICTURE - 8th Grade

The annual 8th grade panoramic picture will be the same day as spring pictures -- Thursday, February 19, at approximately 8:45 a.m. 8th graders should go to their first period class as usual when the bell rings at 8:30, and then all 8th grade classes will report to the gym for the panoramic picture.

SPRING PICTURE DAY - February 19 - A NEW PLAN THIS YEAR!

Spring picture day is coming up soon -- Thursday, February 19. This year pictures will be pre-paid only, just as in the fall. You may remember past years that all students had their picture taken and families could then purchase pictures after viewing them. LIFETOUCH has changed procedures this year. Any students wanting pictures taken should bring their picture packet and payment with them on picture day. Picture packets will go home with students prior to picture day.

RUN FOR FUN!

This spring we will be partnering with Girls on the Run Willamette Valley to offer an afterschool wellness program for 6th-8th grade girls. The program creatively integrates running into activities that empower girls to make thoughtful and healthy choices as they face the challenges of middle school. The season ends with a celebratory 5K.


Practices: March 9 – June 2 (Tuesday/Thursday 3:45 - 5:15 p.m.)

Registration Deadline: January 10

School Contact: Mrs. Walter tiffany.walter@dsd2.org

Program Fee: $150 (scholarships available)


Program Includes: Twenty 90-minute lessons, water bottle, Girls on the Run T-shirt, healthy snacks at each practice, journal, and entry in the 5K.


More Information/Registration/Scholarship Applications: http://www.gotrwillamette.org/

GET OUT! LOCK OUT!

We do everything in our power to keep our kids safe. We train our staff. We prepare our kids. We have fire drills, earthquake drills, and safety drills. Twice a year, we have a combination of drill/presentation called Get Out! Lock Out! We want our kids to have knowledge of how to help themselves, and reassurance that we will help them, in the unlikely event the unthinkable would occur on our campus. Our first drill this year will be later this month. Please know we have put careful thought into how we present this information to our kids. We have our students' safety and best interest in mind.

UPCOMING EVENTS

February 19: Picture Day & 8th Grade Panoramic Picture

February 27: Activity Night

March 5: PTC Meeting

March 5: LimeBerry Day

March 5-6: Scoliosis Screening (7th and 8th graders)

WILDCAT BOOKFEST!

Mark your calendars now! The first ever Wildcat Bookfest is happening Friday, June 5, from 6 - 8 p.m. Come for a fun evening of events which will include: a guest author, crafts, a free book for each middle-school student, a book exchange room, refreshments, and more. Hope to see you there!

STUDENT INTEREST PICTURES FOR YEARBOOK!

We need student interest pictures for yearbook! Lots of pictures! What do you like to do in your spare time? Email pictures of you and your horse, you and your dog, you and your friends. How about sports pictures? How about playing an instrument, reading, or volunteering? Please label your pictures with your name, your grade, and your friends' names if they are in your pictures, and email your pictures to Jana Fogg at jfogg6@msn.com. We only have a few weeks left to finish so please get your pictures in now!

Veterans of Foreign Wars Oregon Teacher of the Year

Our own Roger Shafer is Oregon VFW Teacher of the Year! Roger has served our country, and he serves our students. Thank you for your service, Roger. We are proud to have you in our school!

Having a "blast" in science!

Our 8th grade science students had a "blast" launching their rockets, learning all about propulsion and atmospheric conditions in the process. Next semester's science students will have the same opportunity.

8th Grade DC Trip


THIS YEAR -- 2015 8th Grade DC Trip

Attention all 8th Grade Parents and Students: Registration for our 2015 Washington, DC trip closes the end of January, and fundraising is currently underway. The trip starts in our nation’s capital, through Philadelphia, around Gettysburg and ends at Hershey, Pennsylvania. The tour includes: the White House and Capitol building, Arlington National Cemetery, several Smithsonian museums, numerous national monuments and memorials, Independence Hall, Amish Country, Hershey Park, the battle fields of Gettysburg, and other historical and cultural locations. If you had a last-minute change of heart and would still like to join us or if you have other questions, please contact Mrs. Fisher (mollie.fisher@dsd2.org) or Mrs. Lindemann (juliann.lindemann@dsd2.org).



NEXT YEAR -- 2016 8th Grade DC Trip

Attention all 7th Grade Parents and Students: Registration for our 2016 Eastern Seaboard/Washington, DC trip is currently underway. The trip starts in Boston, home of many historical landmarks, Harvard, and Paul Revere’s house, travels New York City, continues on to Philadelphia, and ends in our nation’s capital, Washington DC . The tour includes: Independence Hall, a Broadway show, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the White House and Capitol building, Arlington National Cemetery, several Smithsonian museums, numerous national monuments and memorials, and other historical and cultural locations. We will have our first parent meeting this month. If you have any questions at this time, please contact Mrs. Fisher (mollie.fisher@dsd2.org) or Mrs. Lindemann (juliann.lindemann@dsd2.org).

LaCreole's Clothing Closet

We'd like to remind families that we have a clothing closet available to LaCreole students. The closet is open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. school days, whether you wish to donate to or draw from the closet. We are accepting new or like-new clothing, shoes, coats, and backpacks. If you would like more information, please contact the Counseling Center at 503-623-6663.

SCOLIOSIS SCREENING

Scoliosis screening will take place March 6 an 7 during PE. All 7th and 8th graders will be screened. Our district nurse and designated assistants will perform this simple screening that checks for curvature of the spine. A letter with more information will be sent home with students. If you would like your student to opt out of screening, please send a note to school prior to the screening dates.