Weekly News

December 18, 2020

Calendar Items

December 23 - January 1 - Winter Break

Monday, January 4 - Classes resume

1st Semester

The end of the first semester is nearly here. Our students have had a great first semester of learning and we continue to see the positive impacts of our learning management system, Canvas, in our classrooms. As we gear up for the end of the semester, please take note of the important information below regarding grades and courses in Canvas.

End of Semester Information:

At the end of the day on Thursday, January 14th, courses in Canvas will conclude and will no longer be visible on the Canvas Parent app. A concluded course is only visible through the Canvas Website. To view first semester courses and grades after January 14th, open Canvas in a web browser, log in, and click on the Courses tab. Click View All Courses and scroll down to find the past enrollments. Access Past Enrollment guide (Video tutorial)

Final exam scores and other individual assignment grades can be viewed in Canvas. Semester grades reports will be published in ParentVUE in January.

Need some help?

Blue Valley has a variety of resources available for parent support on the district’s Canvas web page, www.bluevalleyk12.org/canvas.

Boys Basketball Starts January 4!

8th grade boys intermural basketball will begin January 4th. Below are several important items to know if your student would like to participate.

  • Our teams will be led by Head Coach Andy Pastine – apastine@bluevalleyk12.org.
  • Athletes competing with club teams will be able to participate in intermural basketball.
  • Intermurals are open to 8th Grade boys enrolled in In-Person and VirtualED learning.
  • Intermural teams will compete against intermural teams from other Blue Valley middle schools.
  • Intermural teams will be coached by Aubry Bend coaches.
  • After a few practices, coaches will assign players to teams based upon ability level.
  • Administrators, coaches, and athletic trainers will collaborate to establish and utilize procedures to mitigate risks.
    • Players and coaches will wear masks at all times.
    • All participants will complete daily COVID temperature screenings.
  • Students will need to arrange their own transportation to school for practices and home games. Transportation will be provided from a student’s home school for away games.


  1. If your student will participate in intermural boys basketball, please fill out this Boys Basketball Sign-Up form.
  2. Each student participating in intermural sports must submit a completed 2020 Intermural Pre-Participation Packet to the ABMS office. This packet includes a permission form, a COVID-19 questionnaire, and a transportation consent and release form. This packet must be on file at ABMS prior to participation in an intermural practice or game. Families are encouraged to submit these to the ABMS office at their earliest convenience.
  • If a student submitted a 2020 Intermural Pre-Participation Packet for cheerleading, cross country, or football, the student does not need to submit a second packet in order to participate in boys basketball.
  • Physicals are not required to be submitted for students to compete in intermurals.

Winter MAP Testing

ABMS families:

I wanted to make you aware that we will be administering Winter MAP tests year to measure the current instructional levels of our students.

Data obtained through this particular instance of MAP testing will measure student progress on specific standards and will provide us with information and insight that allow us to better support your student.

This year’s Winter testing window is January 25th to February 12th, as we want students to test with their 2nd semester teachers. If you have questions please feel free to reach out to Ryan Colburn.

PSAT Information

Any 8th Grader who took the PSAT this fall may now access their scores digitally. We should receive paper copies of the score reports in the future. When they arrive, we will pass them out to students, but in the meantime, scores may be accessed by one of the following methods below.

1) If a student put their email address on the answer sheet, they would have gotten an email saying that the score report was ready and would just follow the prompts in that email.

2) If a student didn’t put their email address on the answer sheet, they can get their scores by going to this website. The key is that students use the exact same name that they bubbled in on the PSAT answer sheet. The attached document would help you see what name the student bubbled in case there are issues with this process.

School Pictures

School pictures have not been forgotten or overlooked! Currently there are two dates reserved for student pictures in early January. As soon as the learning mode is determined for the month of January additional information will be communicated with details. This information will be for all Aubry Bend students, in-person and virtual.

Community Service Award

In the past, the district has focused on the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) as our recognition method for students who complete community service. However, the district has found an increasing number of problems with this national program over the past few years. The challenges have included, but are not limited to, the inability to contact customer service to troubleshoot problems, the delay in receiving certificates/awards from the organization (some schools are still waiting on awards earned last school year), and the increasing cost of the awards. Also, please note that the national program no longer recognizes the lifetime service award.

As a result, the district has changed the name of the program to the Blue Valley Volunteer Service Award. We will utilize the same basic standards as outlined by the President’s Volunteer Service Award, however, the certificates will come from the Blue Valley School District/ABMS.

Please click the links below to access an overview of the Blue Valley Volunteer Service Award, suggested volunteer activities, and the Volunteer Service Log.


There will be NO Math Counts on Monday, December 21st. Please be checking your email regularly. Mrs. Redlin will be sending the results of the school competition within the next week.


Thank you to all of the generous ABMS families who donated to help out three ABMS families over the winter months. You have helped provide food, household basics, toiletries, clothing, and a gifts to 3 families, including 7 kids. Thank you so very much for your kindness and generosity.

· Invest in ABMS/PTO membership - Make your year-end tax donation! Any and all support is very much appreciated!! Log into ParentVue to donate.

· AMAZON SMILE - Did you know you can support ABMS by shopping through Amazon Smile? It's an easy way to help, but you must shop through our link.

· "BE IN THE KNOW WITH ABMS PTO"- Be sure to follow us on FB (@AubryBendMSPTO) and twitter (@AbmsPto).

· SCHOOL DIRECTORY - Directories are ready for pick up! If yours does not come home with your kiddo, be sure to stop by the office to grab it. Thank you!

· SNACK CART - Through the Student Services team and in partnership with our teacher grant chairperson (and your INVEST in ABMS), PTO was able to fill a "snack cart" for the counselors to have as a special surprise for the staff. Such a fun way to lift their spirits during the day!

· PIE DROP - THANK YOU to everyone who donated pies for this fun holiday event!

Big picture

Winter Break READING!

Need something to read over the long break? We have many new titles and plenty of old favorites. Curbside Checkout will continue through Tuesday, December 22nd! Our library web page provides information and a short video on how to place a hold for Curbside checkout. Axis 360 eBooks are also available to all ABMS students. Axis 360 eBooks

Book Returns-Help Needed!

Overdue notices were emailed to students before Thanksgiving break. Many of the overdues we are seeing are from last school year. If you could continue to look for any books that could be in your home it would be greatly appreciated! 6th grade students that have books from their previous school may return to the ABMS Library. We’ll send them on to the appropriate school. We’d LOVE to clear student accounts before the Winter Break! A Book Return cart has been placed in the main vestibule of the ABMS school entrance. Thanks to all the students that have already returned books!!!

ABMS Library Webpage

This is just a reminder that our Library Webpage contains a wealth of information and resources for all ABMS students. It’s updated regularly with new resources, book recommendations via First Chapter Fridays and/or Book Trailers, and monthly Choice Boards. There’s links to our social media pages. Pay attention to the TABS that lead to our online databases and other educational resources. If you haven’t been on lately, take a look! ABMS Library Webpage


ELA students worked together this week with a small team to create the group newspaper template. It was great seeing the students converse and collaborate, share ideas, and give feedback to one another in break out rooms. This project allowed them to work on cooperation, flexibility, and sharing of information among their peers!


Math classes are finishing up the Coordinate Plane unit before break.


Science classes are continuing to learn about the history of Earth and what its layers have to offer.
Social Studies:

In social studies, we have been learning about the MANY things invented in ancient China. Ask your student which one(s) they think are the most impactful today!


Students are concluding A Christmas Carol with a two-part assessment. Ask them about their personality test. As a part of Social Emotional Learning, we studied our own characteristics and analyzed them. They will begin an informational writing on London in the 1800's when we return from Winter Break.

Social Studies:

Social Studies classes have just finished working on their fictional countries, drawing maps and amazing us with their creativity! Can’t wait to see the ones still in the works! We are also just beginning our final unit in Geography, focusing on culture and how other parts of the world live as a stark contrast to what we experience here in Johnson County, KS, USA!


Enjoy your Winter Break! We will focus on two-step equations when we return!


This week we introduced a project on the Human Body Systems! We will resume our work after Winter Break! Thanks for all your hard work!


Please stop by the front of ABMS between 7am and 4pm to pick up the goodie bags for the Virtual Choir Celebration on Monday. Bags are available for pick up December 17, 18, and 21.


We will be synthesizing information from our story analysis journals and begin writing our thesis statements for the summative essay.

If there’s one thing I believe 2020 will produce, it’s a genuine understanding of empathy. Empathy is the ability to accurately put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand where they are coming from. To truly understand someone’s perceptions, feelings and situation is a complex skill that takes some imagination. Sympathy is feeling “for” someone, but empathy is feeling “with” someone. There’s a difference, and the two often get grouped together in one definition.

In a typical year, our kids are filled with emotions and feelings that they work hard to understand. During adolescence, it can be difficult to “name” an emotion or feeling and even more difficult to figure out why they even having that feeling. I can recall many situations when I worked with students who burst into tears, and when calm articulated that they had no idea why they were crying. This is a typical example of an adolescent working through emotions that appeared and disappeared so suddenly that it’s a shock to deal with, and when reflecting upon the situation, the student thought, “What just happened? Why was I so upset?”

In a non-typical year like this one, these incidents are more widespread. What we see this year is widespread emotional responses – both rational and irrational – from students and adults. Sometimes it’s because of stress. Sometimes it’s because of lack of or misinformation. Sometimes it’s a knee-jerk reaction to a situation. As we all navigate this year, we are trying to keep at the forefront of our minds the mantra, “Everyone is doing the best they can.” Sometimes, though, that mantra is followed by phrases like, “But I want this or that to happen.” True empathy is not followed by a but. True empathy is followed by, “I’m here for you. What do you need? How can I support you?”

There are three types of empathy: cognitive, emotional and compassionate. Cognitive empathy is also known as “perspective-taking.” It’s the ability to put yourself in someone’s shoes and see things from their perspective. This isn’t often the typical understanding of empathy because it’s more intellectual than emotion. Emotional empathy is understanding the feelings of others and feeling the same feelings with them. Compassionate empathy is what we typically define as empathy, feeling someone’s pain and taking action to help.

Empathy is intuitive. Empathy is intellectual. It will take time and practice for adolescents to develop a strong sense of empathy, and from the educator’s point of view, our kids are developing this skill at a faster rate than a typical year. They understand – and can articulate – how someone else may be feeling about school, the pandemic, missing their friends, etc. They truly understand each other and their teachers in a way they haven’t in the past. They are taking empathy to the compassionate level and taking action to help their friends and their teachers. It’s astounding to watch their mindsets shift from me to us to you.

I’m so proud of the way our students, teachers and families are navigating the challenges of teaching, learning and caring for others during a pandemic. It’s not easy. I know it. I feel it, too, and I want our community to know that we are thankful for the empathy, support and understanding we are feeling from our students and families.

I think 2020 will produce a generation of empaths who seek first to understand and validate the feelings and perspectives of other people. If our remarkable kids are any indication of the world after 2020, our future looks bright. I’m learning a lot from them about empathy, resilience and gratefulness.

Thank you for continuing to support ABMS and our entire community during this difficult time. We love our community and want you to know that you can count on us.


Diana Tate, Principal