The Merrill Minute

January 17, 2020

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2nd Semester Starts Tuesday!

Greetings, Merrill Families,

It is hard to believe that we just wrapped up our 1st semester of the 2019-2020 school year. As many of you with older students already know, the middle school years fly by. I would like to thank all of you for your support of our school community throughout the 1st semester. There are countless examples of you rallying to support individual students, groups of students, our staff, and our entire Merrill community. It seems that anytime we face adversity, you all come together and help us find solutions. Thank you.

I would also like to thank the Merrill PTA for supporting us with Amazon wish list items, snacks that keep both our students and staff fueled, pencils, coats, and all of the other items our students need. You also have, and continue to, organize volunteers, generate ideas to build a stronger school community, and pitch in wherever needed. We can't thank you enough.

Our mission for 2nd semester remains the same - to create a better and more peaceful world. With your partnership, feedback, as well as support, we will do just that. Know that you are always welcome at Merrill and please don't ever hesitate to call, e-mail, or stop by and visit.

Yours in this snow globe that we call Iowa,


Kathryn Panek


Merrill Middle School

(2nd semester schedules are available on the Infinite Campus parent and student portals. Please have students double check which wheel class - art, business, or FACS - they'll head to on Tuesday. For a majority of students, that is the only change for 2nd semester.)

Mustang TV News - December 18, 2019

Merrill Matters: Digital Citizenship

Monday, Jan. 27th, 6:30-7:30pm

5301 Grand Avenue

Des Moines, IA

Join us for a collaborative discussion! Outcomes include...

  • Learn tips and tricks that support adults as we parent in the digital age
  • Develop a family plan to support our children in making healthy choices on-line
  • Learn more about Merrill's electronic device policy, as well as federal laws protecting our children

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Volunteer Opportunities

Mustang Minutes: We are looking for volunteers to help us support our students in both their academic and social/emotional success! We would love to have you join us during Mustang Minutes on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays (8:30-9:00) to support students in need of additional help in reading and math, or to co-facilitate a club/activity during Mustang Minutes on Wednesdays (8:30-9:00).

Lunch Hour: We are looking for volunteers to keep the cafeteria and playground a friendly and welcoming place for students. Parents/community members are invited to stand in the hallway near the cafeteria or in the cafeteria and converse with students, hand out high-fives, and help direct students outside for recess or back into the cafeteria for lunch.The sign-up link is below.

Thank you!

International Baccalaureate Reauthorization

Merrill Middle School is in the midst of an important milestone in our International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program journey. As part of our status as an IB World School, Merrill, in partnership with the IB Organization, conducts an in-depth program evaluation every five years. The evaluation is a deeply reflective process that establishes understanding of program strengths and opportunities for growth, supports new learning and collaboration, and produces specific school actions to improve student outcomes.

On February 3 and 4 we will be welcoming a team of IB experts who will help us reflect on our implementation of program standards and practices related to school philosophy, organization, and teaching and learning.

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Successful Basketball Season

The basketball team had a successful season going 8-1 in A team play and 7-1 in B team play. They played hard all year and showed a great deal of improvement. Congratulations!

A team MVP: Grace Hagge

B team MVP: Marlo Belknap

A team Leadership: Jazzy Guerreo

B team Leadership: Camille Page

A team Ms. Hustle: Julia Antoniou

B team Ms. Hustle: Giana Little and Kayla Cruz

A team Defense: Elena Gentry and Meredith Russell

B team Defense: Mari Thiandoum

A team Positive Attitude: Rania WauAmoum and Fardowsa Mohamed

B team Positive Attitude: Angel Toluwalase and Amelia Vermeer

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Forest Avenue Library MLK Celebration

The Forest Avenue Library is calling for student art and creative writing entries as part of their annual community event honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The students’ work will be honored during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration on Monday, January 20, 2019, at 4:00 PM and remain on display at the library throughout Black History Month. For more information please email or call the library at 515-248-6260.

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DMPS Board Goals

  • Student Expectation Goal 1: The percent of all third grade students on track in reading will increase from 52% to 72% by June 2023, as measured by FAST.
  • Student Expectation Goal 2: The percent of black male third grade students on track in reading will increase from 35% to 72% by June 2023, as measured by FAST.
  • Student Expectation Goal 3: The percent of black male students completing Algebra I with a B or higher by the end of grade 9 will increase from 17% to 35% by August 2023.

Merrill Middle School Goals

  • Student Expectation Goal 1: The percent of black male 6th – 8th grade students on track in reading (exceeding at-risk cut point 30th%ile) will increase from 53% to 75% by Spring 2023, as measured by NWEA MAP.
  • Student Expectation Goal 2: The percent of black male 6th – 8th grade students on track for college & career readiness in math will increase from 12% to 29% by Spring 2023, as measured by NWEA MAP.
  • Student Expectation Goal 3: The percent of 6th – 8th students with positive results will increase from 34% to 75% by spring 2023, as measured by the Conditions for Learning Survey.

Upcoming Dates

Jan. 20: No School - MLK Day

Jan. 27: Merrill Matters: Digital Citizenship 6:30-7:30 in FACS Room

Feb. 3: Iowa Caucuses

Feb. 3 and Feb. 4: IB Site Visit

Feb. 14: Middle School Dance 3:40-5:00

Feb. 25: No school for K-10 & 12th grades (11th grade attends a.m. only for ACT)