Jonas Clarke Middle

New and Notes | October 2018

From the Prinicpal

Dear Clarke Community,


Fall has arrived! It has been an incredibly busy month filled with fun activities, field trips, evening events and learning and it't hard to believe but Quarter 1 is almost over.


At the beginning of this month we held our BARK pep rallies for all three grades. This year the rallies included trivia about our school, our staff and building, as well as an incredible group of 8th graders sharing their thoughts and ideas about what BARK (Balance, Acceptance, Resilience, Kindness) means to them. It was a fun way to introduce BARK to our new students and remind our returning students about how BARK plays out in their everyday lives. Our students had great time supporting their classmates and getting psyched up for the school year.


I would like to extend my gratitude to the Clarke PTO for hosting many of our recent events including a Welcome New Families event before Back to School Night, parent coffees and get togethers and students socials to kick off the new year. We are looking forward to some upcoming events as well. On Monday October 22nd we will host a parent forum to hear about all that is going on at Clarke and the district this year in an informal question and answer session with me beginning at 7PM. In addition, don't miss out on your chance to support the PTO and get some Clarke or Lexington Spirit Wear for your Clarke student. The online store closes November 4th so order soon!


You can visit the Clarke PTO website for more information on all the happenings both at Clarke and around Lexington! Don't forget to sign up for membership and check out the still open volunteer opportunities with the PTO. It's a great way to stay involved in middle school.


Lastly, at the Lexington School Committee meeting on September 25, 2018 , administrators from across the district presented the draft of a white paper entitled, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Lexington Public Schools: Our Proposed Call to Action”. This document was developed by the nineteen members of the Administrative Team for the school district. It is designed to serve as a starting point for on-going work by the professionals in the system in partnership with the entire community. Our hope is that by presenting our thoughts, members of the greater community will share their perspectives and guide the final proposal; then maintain engagement as we work together to make its tenets a reality.


Our school system is not uniques in its disparities in discipline for African American/Black students and children with identified special needs. The data from across the state and the nation mirrors this problem. Our response needs to address this specific concern AND go deeper to assess and ultimately change many practices that disadvantage children of color and children with identified special needs. Our leadership is committed to this work. Our school staff is passionate about understanding the problems and refining our practice. Our dedication to all of our students drives this change process. We encourage your participation, insights and feedback.

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I met some new friends on a rainy day at dismissal this week!

Building Dedication Ceremony 2018

On October 9, 2018 we held our Building Dedication Ceremony! Speaking along with me at the event were Dr. Julie Hackett, Superintendent, Eileen Jay, Chair of the School Committee and Doug Lucente, Lexington Board of Selectmen. Thank you to all who attended! Below is the letter featured in the program.


Dear Town of Lexington, Clarke School Community, and Distinguished Guests,


Welcome to the newly renovated and expanded Jonas Clarke Middle School on our ribbon cutting ceremony day!


The renovations and addition to our building have made an enormous difference in how our school operates and the programs we provide. The new addition consists of brand new state-of-the-art classrooms, all with beautiful views of the conservation land that surrounds Clarke. These additional classroom spaces are used for math, English, social studies, science, reading, and world languages. Each is equipped with the latest technology, sound systems and furniture designed to maximize space and encourage flexible learning environments. The public entryway in the new wing provides greater access to spaces utilized frequently by the Lexington community, such as the gymnasium and the auditorium.


This project also involved the renovation and reconfiguration of other spaces that addressed programmatic needs. Redesigning space for the music, band, and orchestra programs in two renovated rooms allows for greater flexibility with scheduling classes and improved storage space for instruments and musical supplies. Our dram and visual arts programs have benefited from newly renovated spaces complete with more organized storage spaces and furniture. Upstairs on the third floor, the creation of a new life skills room now allows for selected special education programs. The newly configured staff work room, complete with redesigned furniture, facilitates staff collaboration.


Lastly, the extensive improvements made to the entire site have changed the traffic flow, providing much needed separation of buses, cars, and students. The front patio and entryway creates a large welcoming space where our ever growing student population can safely gather before, during and after school.


On behalf of the Jonas Clarke Middle School community, please accept our gratitude for your commitment to these new and renovated spaces. All of this would not have been possible without the support of the Lexington School Committee, the Lexington Board of Selectmen, the Lexington residents and many others who worked incredibly hard to ensure the success of this project. We thank you for your generosity and dedication.


Respectfully,

Anna W. Monaco, Principal

Back to School Night 2018

Clarke staff welcomed parents back to school during our annual Back To School Night event held on October 3rd and 4th. Due to such a large student population, we split the evening up into two events. Parents had a chance to follow a typical schedule for their child(ren), see Clarke classrooms and of course, meet some teachers. It was fun helping parents find their way around the building. Thank you to all of those parents who attended this successful event and we hope that it gave you a glimpse of your child's school day! Thank you also to the Clarke PTO for hosting a new families welcome event right before the 6th grade Back To School Night. This was a wonderful event for families to connect, ask questions and get to know the school community a bit better.
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Clarke Site Council

The Clarke Site Council is a group of parents, teachers, and staff who meet monthly to advise the principal about many aspects of life at Clarke, including academics, social-emotional supports, school culture, technology, diversity and inclusion, professional development, parent communication, and school safety. Not affiliated with the PTO, Site Council is a separate body established as part of the Education Reform Act of 1993. That law mandated a Site Council at every public school in Massachusetts, and charged those Councils with advising principals in four primary areas:


  • adopting educational goals consistent with local educational policies and statewide student performance standards;

  • identifying educational needs of students attending the school;

  • reviewing the annual school building budget; and

  • formulating a School Improvement Plan


The last of those areas, formulating an annual School Improvement Plan, is a major part of the Council’s work, and has resulted in many successful new initiatives at Clarke over the years, including the adoption of WIN blocks. You can view Clarke’s 2018-19 School Improvement Plan in the “School Site Council” section of the Clarke website (under the “About Our School” tab).


Parents and guardians can stay informed about the Council’s work and communicate questions and suggestions to the Council in a variety of ways:

  • Site Council meetings are subject to Open Meeting Law, and anyone is welcome to attend. Please keep in mind that these are working meetings with busy agendas. The Council meets from 7-8 am in Clarke’s main office conference room. The next scheduled meeting will be 10/24, and additional meetings are tentatively scheduled for 11/28, 1/16, 2/13, 3/20, 4/10, 5/15, and 6/12. (Since dates are subject to change, be sure to confirm them via the Clarke website or by contacting the front office if you plan to attend.)

  • Meeting minutes are posted on the Clarke website for anyone who couldn’t attend.

  • Parents and guardians are encouraged to reach out to any of their elected parent representatives with questions or suggestions throughout the year. This year’s parent representatives are Rucha Londhe, Michelle Motta Dardeno, Jennifer Roney, Amy Selinger, and Jennifer Velis. Their contact information is available on the website.

  • The Clarke Site Council has plans to create a parent-guardian “suggestion box” this year. Keep an eye out for additional announcements about this new communication tool.

  • Consider becoming a member of Site Council next year! Parent representatives serve staggered two-year terms, and an election is held every spring to fill open positions for the following year. Candidates must have a child at Clarke for the entire two-year term. If you are interested in running for Site Council for the 2019-20 school year, watch the PTO’s weekly emails next spring for information about how to get your name on the ballot, and contact current parent representatives if you have any questions about what the position entails.

Walk and Roll - October 4th

On Wednesday October 10th, about 150 students participated in the fall Walk and Roll event to celebrate the health and environmental benefits of getting to school without a car. Walkers, bikers and bus-riders enjoyed the great weather, as well as a raffle, music, photos with Jonas Barke, and refreshments - all courtesy of the PTO. Many students came from a good distance carrying instruments, sports equipment. Great job - keep it up Clarke!

Parent Conferences Coming Up!

Sign-ups for conferences will begin on Monday, October 29th, 2018 @ 6:00AM. There will be a link under Announcements on the front page of the Clarke website


Parent conferences are scheduled for the following days:


Friday, November 16, 2018 8:00AM – 3:00PM All Grades

Wed, November 21, 2018 8:10AM – 11:40AM 6th Grade Conferences

Friday, December 7, 2018 8:10AM – 11:40AM 7th Grade Conferences

Friday December 7, 2018 12:30PM – 3:00PM All Grades

Friday, December 14, 2018 8:10AM – 11:40AM 8th Grade Conferences

Friday December 14, 2018 12:30PM – 3:00PM All Grades


There are two types of conferences:


1. Team Conferences: Parents have a conference with the members of their child’s team: Math, Social Studies, Science and English. These conferences are 10 minutes in length.


2. Individual Teacher Conferences: Parents have a conference with any other teacher that their child may have such as World Language, Music, Special Education, etc. These conferences are also 10 minutes in length.


By having 10-minute conferences, we are ensuring that more families will be able to schedule a conference. If, for some reason, you do not get a conference with a desired team or teacher, please email that teacher or Team Leader to find an alternative conference time. We appreciate your patience with this process.

Upcoming Dates and Events

Monday October 29 | Parent Conference Sign-Ups Begin

6:00AM Online via Sign Up Genius.


Tuesday October 30 | Clarke PTO Fundraiser

Dinner at Flatbreads in Bedford and support the Clarke PTO!


Thursday November 1 | PTO Meeting with Guest speaker Dr. Hackett, Superintendent

8:30AM Clarke Cafeteria


Friday November 2 | 7th and 8th Grade Field Trip

Hairspray at the North Shore Music Theatre


Friday November 2 | 8th Grade Social

6:30 PM Clarke Gymnasium


Monday November 5 | LEF Trivia Bee

7PM, LHS Auditorium. Come cheer on our Clarke teams!


Friday November 9 | Quarter 1 Grades Close


Monday November 12 | No School

Veteran's Day observed


Friday November 16 | Parent Conferences

No School - Middle School Only


Wednesday November 21 | Parent Conferences

8:00AM - 11:30AM (6th Grade Only)


Wednesday November 21 | Early Release

11:45AM Dismissal for the Thanksgiving Holiday


Thursday November 22 - Friday November 23 | No School

Thanksgiving Holiday Break


Friday December 7 | Early Release - Parent Conferences

11:45AM dismissal


Friday December 14 | Early Release - Parent Conferences

11:45AM dismissal


Monday December 24 - Tuesday Jan 1 | No School

Winter Break


Wednesday January 2 | School Resumes

News from the 7th Grade

Adventurer Team

Adventurer students have been actively "doing science". Students conducted an experiment to determine if a penny can hold more drops of tap water or soapy water. They learned about surface tension, and also what makes a "valid" experiment. [See photo below] The past few weeks we've been learning more about the characteristics of living things. We learned why leaves change color in the fall, and took a nature walk and collected leaves to see the phenomenon outside! Adventurer scientists have used microscopes to examine the letter "e", human hair and thread. Looking at live Protists under the microscope...Amoeba, Stentor and Euglena....brought even more excitement to Rm 137! Studying cheek and onion cells will further convince students that all living things are made of one or more cells. An in depth study of cells and making cell models will come next!


Adventurer geography students are exploring big themes: how we are affected by climate and where our water and electricity come from. You should ask them why mid-latitude climates are so crowded, and how Israel has a water surplus in the desert.

In English, Adventurer students have begun the year by reading short stories as we study conflict. The art and rules of literary analysis are in the spotlight. We're identifying relevant evidence in literature and confidently presenting our compelling ideas. So far, we're pretty impressed with our results.


It has been a great start in 7th grade math. Homework is typically, assigned on Friday and it is due the following Friday. It includes Review, Present material, and Problem Solving/ Challenge problems. The Review section includes material previously learned. The Present section includes problems that are related to what is being covered currently in the classroom. The problem solving section is a range of difficulty that students are not expected to know how to solve right away. We want the students to be comfortable with struggle, and the idea of not knowing….yet. General suggestions for your child: Start early, plan your time, form a study group during WIN, use the resources to access help during the week, In the Grade 7 math class, there is an opportunity to complete the honors homework weekly.


We have finished our unit on two-dimensional geometry and are currently working on the Rational Numbers unit. We will be exploring similarity, ratio and proportional thinking in our next unit. We hope that the students have been enjoying Mindful Mondays and Fun Fridays!

Endeavor Team

Science: Endeavor students have finished their examination of the scientific method and are onto looking at the characteristics of living things. Students are developing their microscope skills and will be looking at living cells from a variety of living things including protists, plants and animals (They will be looking at their own cheek cells), in order to provide evidence that all living things are made of 1 or more cells. Our next area of study will include the organic compounds of which living things are made and how they are used.


English

Endeavor students are reading short stories from authors such as Roald Dahl, Cynthia Rylant, Langston Hughes, Gary Soto, and Ursula K. Leguin. Through these texts, they are exploring how literary conflict, different types of characters, indirect and direct characterization, and foreshadowing interact to create a compelling story. Students are also exploring their world through writing. Each day, students write in their English journals by either responding to a thought-provoking question or writing about what’s in their hearts. Students continue working on literary analysis through the development of written argumentation skills as well. At home, ask your child to back up their opinions and thinking on different subjects. Ask them why or why not. See if they can expand on their evidence-based skills. --Camille Payne


Math:

It has been a great start in 7th grade math. Homework is typically, assigned on Friday and it is due the following Friday. It includes Review, Present material, and Problem Solving/ Challenge problems. The Review section includes material previously learned. The Present section includes problems that are related to what is being covered currently in the classroom. The problem solving section is a range of difficulty that students are not expected to know how to solve right away. We want the students to be comfortable with struggle, and the idea of not knowing….yet. General suggestions for your child: Start early, plan your time, form a study group during WIN, use the resources to access help during the week, In the Grade 7 math class, there is an opportunity to complete the honors homework weekly.


We have finished our unit on two-dimensional geometry and are currently working on the Rational Numbers unit. We will be exploring similarity, ratio and proportional thinking in our next unit. We hope that the students have been enjoying Mindful Mondays and Fun Fridays!


Endeavor World Geography:

It was great to see many of you at Back to School night last week. As you may know, in Endeavor World Geo, we have finished the Intro Unit which was a nice review of key concepts that will provide the foundation for our studies this year. We are currently in the Europe Unit and examining the benefits and challenges of water in the region. Later in the unit we will (virtually) visit some of the “famous places” and meet some of the “famous faces” in the region. We will conclude the unit with an examination of the geography, history, and economy of the European Union.


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Enterprise Team

Hello and welcome to the Enterprise team! We have had a great start to the school year and can't wait to get to know your students more. This newsletter reflects what we’ve been working on so far this year and provides a brief preview of what is to come. On our Team there are two sections of each on-team class, which means that students travel with each other in the same group for most of the day. At some point in the year we may shuffle students among our classes in order to give everyone the opportunity to socialize and learn with different peers. If and when that happens we will give you plenty of notice.


We started this year of Life Science by tackling the question: What makes something "living"? Found something unpleasant in your fridge that needs to be identified? Show it to your student! They should be able to use observation to justify whether it is living or non-living, and their new skills in microbiology might help them determine the type of organism making its home in your leftovers. Our next unit will take us into the amazing world of cells. We will learn about some of the important processes happening in each of our trillions of cells!


Enterprise students made Choice Reading book selections during the first week of school. They have set focused reading goals and hope you will encourage them to follow their customized plan for success. Please continue to support their efforts by engaging with them as they strive to read 30 minutes EVERY night! By the end of September students that kept up with their assigned reading were able to pass the 500 minute mark. If students remain committed to reading 30 minutes every night in October, they will have read an additional 930 minutes! All students are working to establish positive work habits and routines at home that will help to prepare them for literary discussions in class.


It has been a great start in 7th grade math. Homework is typically, assigned on Friday and it is due the following Friday. It includes Review, Present material, and Problem Solving/ Challenge problems. The Review section includes material previously learned. The Present section includes problems that are related to what is being covered currently in the classroom. The problem solving section is a range of difficulty that students are not expected to know how to solve right away. We want the students to be comfortable with struggle, and the idea of not knowing….yet. General suggestions for your child: Start early, plan your time, form a study group during WIN, use the resources to access help during the week, In the Grade 7 math class, there is an opportunity to complete the honors homework weekly.


We have finished our unit on two-dimensional geometry and are currently working on the Rational Numbers unit. We will be exploring similarity, ratio and proportional thinking in our next unit. We hope that the students have been enjoying Mindful Mondays and Fun Fridays!


In world geography students began with an introduction to the five themes of geography (location, place, movement, human/environment interaction, and region). These five themes help to guide us as we explore each region of the world. The first region of the world that we study is Europe. After getting to know the physical geography, climate, and some historical context, each student was able to focus in on one country in Europe. By focusing in on one place in particular, individuals are able to explore elements of culture and that both unify the countries in this part of the world as well as celebrate characteristics that make each place unique. As we continue to learn about each continent, students will become increasingly aware of what is happening in different parts of the world and develop a sense of how they fit into the global community. Students are demonstrating a great deal of enthusiasm and desire to learn about different cultures, which is very inspiring!

Explorer Team

Math

It has been a great start in 7th grade math. Homework is typically, assigned on Friday and it is due the following Friday. It includes Review, Present material, and Problem Solving/ Challenge problems. The Review section includes material previously learned. The Present section includes problems that are related to what is being covered currently in the classroom. The problem solving section is a range of difficulty that students are not expected to know how to solve right away. We want the students to be comfortable with struggle, and the idea of not knowing….yet. General suggestions for your child: Start early, plan your time, form a study group during WIN, use the resources to access help during the week, In the Grade 7 math class, there is an opportunity to complete the honors homework weekly.


We have finished our unit on two-dimensional geometry and are currently working on the Rational Numbers unit. We will be exploring similarity, ratio and proportional thinking in our next unit. We hope that the students have been enjoying Mindful Mondays and Fun Fridays!


Science

In Explorer Science, we began the year with our scientific method unit. To explore the steps of the scientific method, students asked the question, "which popcorn maker pops the highest percentage of kernels in 2 minutes?" After conducting research, students hypothesized which maker they thought would be the most efficient based on wattage, price and customer reviews. We conducted the experiment, collected and analyzed our data, and made our conclusion. To our amazement, the smallest maker with the least amount of watts was able to pop 97% of kernels in 2 minutes! This illustrated to us how through the scientific method, one is able to discover surprising answers to practical questions. We are now moving on to our characteristics of living things unit.


World Geography

In Explorer World Geography, we started the year with our Europe unit. Students have been using the five themes of Geography: Location, Place, Region, Interaction, and Movement to better understand and categorize the different concepts we are learning about in Europe. They have created both political and physical maps and have practiced reading and analyzing other special purpose maps to answer questions like: “What areas of Europe have the highest population density?” We also just finished presenting our first of many Country Profile Presentations of the country each student chose in Europe. Pretty soon we will finishing Europe and moving on to study Russia and the Eurasion Republics.


English

In Explorer English, we're continuing our investigation of the short story. Students are reviewing concepts like conflict, characterization, and plot. We're also introducing new terms to our class vocabulary like "foil" and "foreshadowing". For our end of unit celebration, students will receive an official invite to our class "Dinner Party". They'll pick one character from a short story we've read in class and arrive to the party "in character", ready to interact with other literary guests.


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