Parent Newsletter

Happy New Year!

Students Return on Wednesday Jan. 3rd - Early Dismissal schedule with 12:45 pm dismissal - An A DAY

Here's to a Great Second Semester


We hope you and your student(s) have had a restful, relaxing and memorable holiday break. As we return to school on Wednesday Jan. 3rd, we will begin to continue our weekly newsletter to help support and highlight resources, strategies and needs to help your student.

We will be on a Wednesday Schedule tomorrow Jan. 3rd with dismissal at 12:45 p.m. It will also be an A Day tomorrow for students. Also, the temperatures are forecast this week to be very cold especially at the time of AM bus pick ups.

As we start the 3rd nine weeks, a few things to consider as students prepare for Jan. 3rd:

- Students grades will begin for the third nine weeks on Jan. 3rd

- Make sure to have your device charged and ready to go for the first day back. Also make sure you perform updates on your device

- Organize all your resources and prepare to start checking Canvas weekly to keep up with your assignments and grades

- Practice Grit and Growth Mindset, make a pledge to turn in every assignment and give your best effort on each one. Refuse to let zeroes define your grade!

This week, we will highlight and focus on the following topics:

- Canvas 10 Challenge

- The Power of Zero

- Learning Skills for 21st century success for students

- Soft Skills and Social Media

We hope you have a great start to the nine weeks and a great start to 2018. As many people pledge "New Year's Resolution" at this time of year, we want to work to help our students focus on having a great nine weeks. We believe a great start can help motivate students to continue to be successful and work to their fullest potential.

Thanks for all of your support,

Phil Cox, Principal

Chris Layton, Vice Principal

2nd Nine Weeks Report Cards go home Friday Jan. 5th

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Oak Ridge Schools Advanced Ed STEM District

We are pleased to congratulate Oak Ridge High School for their AdvancED STEM certification, just awarded today!

Oak Ridge High School is the first high school in Tennessee to receive AdvancED STEM certification. The reviewers commended Oak Ridge High School teachers on integrating communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity in virtually every lesson they saw. They also highlighted the use of technology inside and outside of the school walls as a powerful practice. Congratulations!

With the high school now STEM certified, Oak Ridge Schools is now the first district in Tennessee to be AdvancED STEM certified and is the second district in the world to be AdvancED STEM certified.

Jefferson vs. Robertsville basketball game Jan. 6 @ ORHS

Spirit Week for JMS vs. RMS game on 1/6

Even though it will be a short week, it will be a week filled with school spirit! Here are the themes for spirit week and dress day. Please remember school dress code applies including no pajamas, onesies etc. will be allowed. Also any spirit week outfits must meet the standards per the JMS dress code in the code of conduct handbook.

Wednesday: Color out the Rams with colorful clothing

Thursday: Students dress like teachers and teachers dress like students

Friday: Blue and Gold Day
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Weekly Canvas Meeting - Canvas 10 Challenge

"The Canvas App isn't very user friendly"

"I don't like to look at Canvas on my phone"

"I wish I could look at Canvas online, not through the App"

We are here to help you make that a reality. In the last few weeks, we have had many comments, questions, and feedback about Canvas and the Canvas App. We have found that for many, Canvas has become a great tool to not only see a student's grade, but also to gain a sense of what is going on in the classroom. Our goal this week in the newsletter is to help make Canvas more user friendly. One tip to help maximize Canvas as an accountability and communication tool for students is to set up a weekly Canvas review at home with your child. Below you will find a "how to guide" of how to log in as your student and check Canvas from their point of view.

A great strategy to help both students and parents is to set up a 10 minute period each week in order to check Canvas. This will allow you to be on top of student grades and upcoming assignments. Students can log in to Canvas on their own device and show you how they are doing in each class, think of it as a "weekly Open House" opportunity to learn about what your child is doing in their classes.

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The Power of Zero

One major goal we want to help our students understand and learn is the goal of effort and completion. We are going to focus this nine weeks on the danger of failing to attempt, try your best, or submit work. We are going to focus this nine weeks through our Parent newsletter, Twitter Account, our BrightSign TV's and weekly announcements to help students understand to turn in ALL assignments to maximize their opportunities. Check out the graphics below to highlight and help students understand the Power of a Zero.

We will also focus at our 3rd nine weeks success assembly to discuss the power of missing assignments and how they will impact their grades. Our goal is for every student to submit every assignment and give their best effort on each assignment. Students who have multiple missing assignments, particularly on assignments that carry a heavy value, often find themselves in a negative grade situation at the end of the nine weeks. Turn in every assignment and give yourself an opportunity to accumulate as many points as possible.

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Skills for the 21st Century

We often talk about the skills needed for our students as they learn today and prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. We all realize that our students will have expectations to be able to use technology, but there are a few other skills that students need to learn in order to develop their skills to prepare them for their future. We are going to highlight these skills each week as we will work over the nine weeks to help promote these skills.

This week we will introduce and continue to promote and discuss the 4 C's of 21st century education. Our goal is to help parents and students to see how the development of these skills can make a difference for students both in their current education and also in their future opportunities after high school. As a part of the Oak Ridge Schools 7 Keys to College and Career Readiness we are working with all stakeholders to help share and promote these skills to help student success now and in their futures.

Below you will see information about two very important skills that are becoming more and more important to promote for students. The first focus on STEM and its influence on education and helping promote the jobs that currently have needs for employees and are predicted to have needs for employees. We talk a lot about the 4 C's and how they impact education and how they are tied to STEM, but you will learn more about the idea of why STEM fields are a great idea for students to begin to study and research even while in middle school.

The second focus we will have this week, focuses on "soft skills" and their importance for students to know and learn. We will highlight "soft skills" throughout the nine weeks, but this week we will focus on how important it is for students to learn these skills including student use of social media.

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STEM and 21st Century Education

When we were students we often asked the question, "when are we ever going to use this information?" As adult we have probably found times that we did and still probably other times not as much. One of our goals as we work to increase STEM awareness and 21st century education is to help build skills for our students for their success in the future. Although the acronym STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics the skills we look to highlight include the Four C's (Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking).

In the upcoming newsletters, we are going to focus on these skills and the skills that employers report they are currently looking for from employees and predict will be valuable in the future. The jobs of tomorrow are often unknown as technology makes drastic changes, but the skills for those jobs are beginning to unfold in a more common theme. The 4 C's along with having a growth mindset, and soft skills are vital to success for our students. The resources below will give more details about these skills and how we can work to help our students expand these skills through their time in school.

Check out this great site to learn more about STEM careers and how education now can impact those skills:

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Soft Skills and Social Media

One of the most undervalued skills according to employers is the promotion of soft skills. The idea that many employees have skills to perform their work, but often do not have the "soft skills". What are "soft skills"? (Check out graphic below) How can students begin to work on "soft skills"?

One area for many adolescents that has had a major impact on communication skills has come through social media use. For many students, their use of social media can have many impacts on their lives and education. One goal for our newsletters this nine weeks is to help educate both students and parents about the use of social media and its impact.

In the age of digital technology, we have seen quite a bit of change including the birth of Social Media. A new feature for our weekly newsletter will include a focus on digital technology including social media. Throughout the school year, there have been many parents and grandparents express thoughts on social media. The goal of this section of the newsletter is to help educate and inform about social media including the good, the bad and the ugly. For this week, we will focus on the birth of social media and how quickly it has spread along with the impact social media has on students.

The key element to social media is not as much about the rapid growth for many social media outlets, or the ability to post, snap, tweet etc. in an instant, but rather the etiquette or lack thereof that has seemed to evolve. While social media is used around the world by billions of users on multiple platforms, we must concede like many changes in civilization that it has had positive and negative effects.

Check out the video below from Common Sense media to learn more about social media.

Soft Skills have a Large Impact on 21st Century Careers

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LEGO League has great success

Congratulations to the Jefferson Middle School FIRST Lego League teams. They competed in the Knoxville Qualifier on Saturday, December 9, 2017, at Hardin Valley Academy. The JMS Master Builders received the 1st Place Core Values Trophy. The RadioActive Brix received the 2nd Place Champions Trophy. The Atomic Eagles received the 1st Place Champions Trophy and the 2nd Place Robot Performance Trophy. Please congratulate the following team members:

Atomic Eagles: Aaliyah Herron, Aaron Fiscor, Alex Shanafield, Amelie Nagle, Ben Dallas, Brian Qu, Lindsey Fiscor, Marissa Kenworthy

JMS Master Builders: Adam Blanchard, Amelia Thomson, Jacob Mohr, Jessica Mohr, Matthew Alexander, Sadie Thomson, Sydney Blanchard

RadioActive Brix: Abbey Ellis, Christopher Gorsuch, Colby Lawson, Eden Hatmaker, Henry Landau, Johnny Clark, Roxanne Farahi, Wesley Hitson

Counselors Corner

Happy New Year from the Counseling Office! We hope that you have had a nice and restful break and that you are ready for a 3rd term of great things happening at JMS.

This month we will continue with "Caring and Compassion "monthly theme.

"Make no judgements when you have no compassion."

-Anne McCaffrey

Suggested Books:

Fifth and Sixth Grade:

Sounder by William Armstrong

The Summer of Swans by Betsy Byars Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman

“The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Emily Speare Tiktala by Margaret Shaw-MacKinnon

Seventh and Eighth Grade:

Crazy Lady! by Jane Leslie Conly

The Secret Garden by Frances H. Burnett Phoenix Rising by Karen Hesse

"Emotional Coaching”

John Gottman, author of Raising and Emotionally Intelligent Child and professor of psychology at the University of Washington, conducted two ten-year studies of 120 families. He discovered that children of parents who acted as ―emotional coaches‖ learned to acknowledge and master their emotions better, were more self-confident, and were physically healthier. Additionally, they scored higher in reading and math, had better social skills, and had lower levels of stress.

There are five parts to the technique of emotional coaching.‖

1. Recognize the emotion. Most likely, you already know what behavior your child will display if he is denied what he wants. What’s the emotion behind the behavior? For example, how would your child react if he was promised a trip to the park, but couldn’t go because it was raining. While he may throw a temper tantrum, emotionally his anger may stem from deeper feelings of disappointment. Start viewing displays of emotion, both positive and negative, as a time ripe for teaching, connecting to and helping your children become responsible adults. Don’t forget that the most powerful teaching tool is modeling. Children naturally emulate what they see.

2. Build connections. When a child becomes overwhelmed with emotion, remain calm. Don’t try to reason with a child during an emotional outburst. Tell the child that once they are calm, you can talk about what happened. Encourage your child to talk by saying something like, Tell me what happened.‖ or tell me what’s going on.‖Then listen.

3. Listen empathetically. Listen to what your child has to say and check to make sure you understand by summarizing what you heard. In the park example above, you might say, I hear you saying that you want to go to the park because you have been cleaning your room all day and are bored and now you can’t go because it is raining.‖

4. Label the emotion. Finding the best word to describe an emotion can be tricky. It is easy to label emotions as sad, happy, or mad,‖ but deeper, more vulnerable feelings, may be more difficult to label. Help your children label these feelings as well. Remember, more than one emotion can happen at a time, and sometimes conflicting emotions can happen at the same time. Once you have listened to your child, ask, How does that make you feel?‖ Make sure that you label the feeling if they cannot. For example, you could say, Sounds like you are really disappointed because you couldn’t go to the park. Is that right?

5. Set limits and problem solve. You have talked about the situation and labeled the feelings. However that is only half of the equation for building emotionally-balanced problem-solvers. Next, you have to let the child know a line was crossed. For example, you might say, "I know you were disappointed because you couldn’t go to the park, but it is not okay to yell and slam your bedroom door."‖ Second, the child needs to decide what he should do differently next time or how he can make things better. You can initiate this by asking, "What should you have done differently?"‖ or "How can you make this better?"‖Sometimes part of a solution may be to apologize to the person which was offended. Children should not be forced into saying the words, "I’m sorry."‖ Often, they are not sorry and only half-heartedly say the words. Instead, have children say, "I apologize for disrespecting you. Would you please forgive me?"‖ At that point, the offended party can either forgive or not forgive. No matter the outcome, the offender has done his part.

Important dates:

January 3, 2018- New schedules will be handed out in homerooms for 3rd term rotating classes.

January 10, 2018- 8th grade teachers AVID recommendations are due to ORHS.