Black River Middle School

"A School to Watch"

January 2019

Making Connections through the BRMS Advisory Program

Twice a month during the 30-minute Enrichment Period, BRMS students participate in a unique program aimed at supporting the individual and unifying the school community. It's an opportunity that unites students from all grade levels with a teacher they might never know otherwise.

The Advisory Program was developed to foster common bonds and to nurture students' social and emotional development. Small groups of approximately 10 children across all three grade levels and with an even mixture of boys and girls are assigned an Advisory Teacher with whom they meet for all three years. Each group grows comfortable with one another through informal discussions of highs and lows as well as via team building and fun activities designed to broaden perspectives and provide support. As a result, students build new friendships and gain an adult role model who isn't responsible for grading them. Additional benefits include peer inclusion, advocating for other members, and learning from teachers in a different way.

One feature activity of the Advisory Program is the "One School One Book" initiative, whereby the entire school community-- entering 6th graders, rising 7th and 8th graders, and all faculty, staff, and administrators-- read the same book during the summer break. The program promotes literacy and connects all stakeholders in a shared reading experience. Additional activities focus on topics such as organizational skills, goal setting, service projects, and fun challenges.

The BRMS Advisory Program is an out-of-the-box way to prepare students for future challenges brought on by the increasing responsibility of academic and career goals, as well as instilling in them the importance of open communication and social skills. Advisory is a guiding principle that makes BRMS a special place to learn and grow.

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Yearbook and 8th Well-Wisher Deadline Fast Approaching-- Order Now!

The deadline to order Yearbooks and for 8th grade Well-Wisher ads is Thursday, January 31st. Orders must be placed online via the following link on Mrs. Smith's website: The cost for a yearbook is $36.

The yearbook includes a special section devoted to the Class of 2019. It's an annual 8th grade tradition for parents to place Well-Wisher ads to honor their graduating students. It gives parents an opportunity to highlight their children and to wish them success as they move on to high school The cost of an ad is $30 which is in addition to the cost of the yearbook. Mrs. Smith's yearbook website has a video for parents to watch which gives further information on compiling a Well-Wisher ad.

Be sure to visit the yearbook site before the January 31 deadline!

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Inspiration Cafe Features Local Radio DJ

On Friday, January 11, WDHA-FM morning radio personality Jim Monaghan visited the BRMS Inspiration Cafe, hosted by Dr. Piascik and Mr. Pizzo. Mr. Monaghan shared with our 7th graders the story of his health issues as a college student and how he overcame them in order to achieve success. He also recounted his motivation for becoming a disc jockey and choosing radio as his life's career. He told the students that in addition to more than 20 years on-air, he also previously served as a front-office executive with the Newark Bears minor league baseball team, and he currently is a member of the New York Professional Baseball Scouts Association. For more information, visit
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Faculty Fun Facts at BRMS!

BRMS is a community. As such, this newsletter regularly features highlights about the people who make our school a special place. This time, please meet Seventh Grade Teachers Kevin Cullen and Theresa Meierhofer. Did you know?

Mr. Cullen:

1. Was the baseball coach for 2018 World Champion Boston Red Sox Pitcher and Cy Young Award Winner, #22 Rick Porcello, when Porcello was a student at BRMS.

2. Took a 37-day cross country trip with his wife for their honeymoon. His favorite stop was the Grand Canyon, and his favorite city was Seattle.

3. Enjoys writing; in fact, he wrote a weekly sports article for a local newspaper when he was a high school student.

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Mrs. Meierhofer:

1. Met soccer legend Pele when she received All-American Soccer Honors in college. She also played semi-professional soccer.

2. Coaches soccer at West Morris Central High School.

3. Ran her first half-marathon last year.

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BRMS Select Chorus Shines at the Winter Concert!

Click the musical icon below for another look at the talented BRMS Select Chorus, featuring Mrs. Vespignani conducting and Ms. Vanderwall accompanying, at the recent winter concert!

Coming Soon:

Feb. 6- Report Cards Viewable on Power School

Feb. 11-15 8th Grade High School Scheduling Conferences at BRMS


Feb. 20- 8th Grade Washington DC Trip- Second Installment Payment Due- $150.00