Spartan Gazette

Indian Mound Middle School

Greetings From Aaron Tarnutzer

Kids and Schools These Days

All too often I find myself responding to someone saying, “Kids these days are just awful. They don’t have any respect for adults.” Another comment I hear is, “We just need to teach the basics in school. It was good enough for me when I was a kid.” When I hear these things I recognize how awful schools can be at sharing what is happening inside classrooms. What the public often sees of education is what makes the news. Stories about the amazing things happening in classrooms are considered less interesting than stories about a few isolated incidents that are easily sensationalized. Even the positive stories on the news focus on what is visible outside of a classroom such as athletics (which are important). Instead of blaming the media, we are beginning to recognize how important it is for us to share with you what we are doing inside of classrooms. To that end, I would like to share a few thoughts in response to the comments above.

Let me tell you about kids these days. Kids these days treat each other and adults with more kindness and empathy than you will see in the average work place. Students reach out to others who are struggling to understand something in class. They welcome new students. They greet their teachers every morning with a smile. They help guest teachers (a.k.a. subs) so they can have a wonderful experience at IMMS. They serve as allies to others by standing up when someone treats someone else without respect. Sure, there are a few students that need more support. These are the students that are hurting the most and need us the most. Sure, some students misuse technology, but have you ever looked at the comments from adults underneath a news story? Civility using technology needs to be taught and parents and schools are working together to do this. Our cafeteria is cleaner after lunch than our lounge. Our bathrooms are cleaner than most restaurants.

When I look back at the “good old days,” of my middle school years, I recognize they weren’t so good. We didn’t even talk about bullying and how to resolve conflicts peacefully. Most of us treated adults with respect, but if you didn’t do so you were excluded from school. Many ended up “dropping out,” which often meant entering adulthood without the knowledge and skills you needed to be a contributing member of society. We should be proud that our kids are more sensitive to global issues and are working to make our community a better place through service activities. I am in awe of kids these days.

Let me tell you about schools these days. The skills employers are asking our youth to possess are different today than they were when we went to school. Employers tell us it is less about what a student knows and more about how they solve problems, collaborate, access and synthesize information, and create. If you were to spend a few hours with me visiting classrooms you would see students working together to solve problems, with each student playing a vital role in the process. You would see teachers asking complex questions and serving as a facilitator as opposed to someone who knows all the answers. You would see students involved in simulations and solving real world problems. Our 6th grade children are able to understand concepts we learned in high school. Our job is to prepare them to use technology and collaboration to solve problems that haven’t been created yet. The instruction I received (students in rows, teacher lecturing, step by step instructions) would make me an awful employee for the jobs that are being created today and tomorrow. I am in awe of the learning experience our teachers provide for our kids every day.

Lastly, I want to thank you for your involvement in your child's education. Much like our kids and our schools, parents are often blamed for the world's problems. We are blessed in McFarland to have involved parents who make our community and our schools better. The next time I hear someone bad mouthing "parents these days" I will jump in and speak of what I see from you everyday. I hope you will do the same when you hear about "kids these days" and "schools these days."

Aaron Tarnutzer

IMMS Principal

Guidance News: 8th Grade Students Register for High School

With the start of the New Year comes the impending transition to High School for our IMMS 8th graders. This is a very exciting time full of choices and uncertainties. These decisions can be supported and anxious times alleviated through active involvement for students and their parents in the decision making process. Therefore, it will be crucial to keep in mind some important dates when looking to allow for an efficient and successful transition:

Thursday, January 15th: 8th grade students will attend a High School elective presentation at MHS from 1:45pm - 3:00pm.

Tuesday, February 3rd: MHS counselors will present important High School registration information to 8th graders in their Social Studies class.

Monday, February 9th: Parent (of 8th grade students) Orientation meeting & tour at MHS from 6:30pm - 8:00pm. ALL PARENTS/GUARDIANS OF 8TH GRADERS ARE URGED TO ATTEND.

If you have any questions, please call Jim Kramer at 838-4576 – he will be most happy to help!

Attention all 7th and 8th Grade Girls Joining Basketball

Girls’ basketball starts January 5, 2015. The following items must be turned in before the first day of practice.

1. Page 7 of Co-Curricular Code**: Signed Emergency Information, Informed Consent and Student Pledge. This page must be filled out and signed by both student-athlete and parent.

2. Physical Form: If you need a physical, the green physical sheet must be filled out, signed and dated by the physician. Parents must fill out part of the green sheet and sign also. (For 2014-2015 eligibility the physical must be dated after March 31, 2013.)

3. Concussion Form signed by parent and student-athlete.

4. Sports Fee: $63.00

PLEASE NOTE: ** If you were out for cross country or volleyball in the fall, you only need to turn in the sports fee.

P.E. Swimming Unit

Ms. Stokes' P.E. classes will have their swimming unit from January 26th through February 13th. Remember bikini's are not allowed. Any student may wear a shirt over their swimsuit. Please send a towel and goggles (if your child would like to wear them). Feel free to contact Ms. Stokes if you or your child has any questions about the swimming unit.

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