Stewart Middle School Newsletter

March / April 2022

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MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL

Greetings Wildcat Nation!


Spring is on the horizon. The new season brings change and the promise of new beginnings. One welcome change is a rapid improvement in all COVID-19 metrics. Montgomery County has officially moved into medium community-level transmission. With that change, NASD has successfully made the transition to mask recommended, but not required as of March 3rd. During this transition, NASD will continue with our commitment to making health and safety a priority. As a district, we will respect everyone’s personal decision and will ensure those who choose or whose health care providers recommend the continued wearing of masks are supported in our schools, on our buses, and in our community.


Through our partnership with Norristown Pharmacy, we were able to vaccinate many of our learners last month. They will return later in March to provide second doses to all learners who participated in the original event. If your learner missed that opportunity or you are looking for vaccines for the rest of your family, please check the bottom of our newsletter, our website, or our social media feed for other clinics across Montgomery County.


We enjoyed seeing your families last month during Black History Bingo. On Monday, March 14th from 6-7 pm we look forward to virtually gathering with families for Math & PSSA Night. We hope you will be able to join us. We will also host report card conferences during the afternoon on April 7th and 8th from 12:40-3:30 pm. As the date approaches, we will share the Sign-Up Genius to register for in-person or virtual conferences.


Please join me in welcoming Officer Kane to Stewart. If you have not had the pleasure of meeting him, he joined us on February 28th as our School Resource Officer (SRO) and will be onsite daily. Our SRO will assist with preventing and responding to school-based incidents; fostering positive relationships among law enforcement, educators, and youth; and helping to promote a positive school climate. We encourage you to introduce yourself and meet him along Marshall Street during drop-off and dismissal times.


You recently received a welcome letter and introductory video for GAB-On! It is a new platform that gets your child talking to you about their day in school. We encourage everyone to register and begin gabbing with your learner


Finally, March is Women’s History Month, and we will spend this month celebrating and honoring the contributions women have made right in our community and throughout the world. If you would like to learn more about notable women of history or the origins of Women’s History Month please use these links from the History Channel, National Geographic, and womenshistory.gov. Please ask your scholar about the information, projects, and opportunities being discussed in class, and look forward to them sharing with you.


I am looking forward to spring and potential opportunities for us to assemble in person as a school community. Until then, stay safe, and let’s look for the little signs that spring is on the way! If you have any concerns or need assistance, please feel free to reach out to me or one of our team members.


Together, WE ARE STEWART!


Camil Culbreath, Ed.D

Principal

ADMINISTRATIVE CORNER

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SMS EQUITY & UNIFORM SURVEY

The school uniform and equity survey will be closing very soon and we want you to have an opportunity to voice your opinion and concerns. The consensus of our families will shape school procedures and the decisions to either keep or discontinue the school uniform dress policy for next year. The link to the survey is attached below, on the SMS webpage and in a previous Talking Points sent out by your learner’s teacher.

PERSONAL ELECTRONICS/CELL PHONE DEVICES

Research has shown, and we see the ill effects of personal electronic devices use in the classroom. Grades are lowered and conflicts arise. Please partner with us and continuously reinforce our protocol to your learner. Scholars are expected to keep their devices in off mode and away at all times.


Since February 1, the protocol listed below has been implemented for the inappropriate use of personal electronic devices during the school day.

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GAB-ON!

Stewart has been selected to pilot a great program, GAB-on!, designed to encourage your child to have more in-depth conversations with you about their school day. This is exciting because the more your child talks with you about school, the better they perform academically. In the attached below, please see links to the letter and video explaining this program and the short steps needed to get ready to GAB-on!


Join us for a brief meeting on March 14th from 5:30 - 6:00 PM to get started!

Google Meet Link: https://meet.google.com/sew-zhby-uve?hs=224

Tutorial: Parent GAB-on! App Down Load (english)
Parent Introduction and App Download GAB-on! App (esponial)

GENERAL INFORMATION CORNER

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WELLNESS CORNER

MESSAGE FROM THE NURSE

Health Events:


Immunizations are required for 7th and 8th-grade students. The Pennsylvania Department of Health-mandated vaccinations are Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) and MCV (meningococcal). Have your child vaccinated and provide a copy of your child’s immunization record to the school nurse. It is advisable to request these immunizations at your child's 6th-grade physical exam.


Current 6th Grade Students - The Pennsylvania Department of Health requires proof of a physical exam. If you wish not to use your private physician, the Norristown Public Health Center provides back-to-school immunizations and physicals.


In addition to the required school immunizations, if your child is vaccinated against Covid 19, please provide proof of immunization to the school nurse as well. Please note: The Covid 19 Vaccination is not a state-mandated immunization, but continues to be highly recommended.


Eye and hearing screening will take place in school. If you have concerns about your child's eye or ear health, please reach out to the school nurse at sfowler@nasd.k12.pa.us or call the office.

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ACADEMIC ENRICHMENT CORNER

MARCH 14 VIRTUAL MATH & PSSA INFORMATION NIGHT

March 14th we will host a fun PSSA prep & math game evening from 6 to 7 pm. This event will be virtual and you may use your learner's Chromebook. We will share strategies to help students do their best on the upcoming PSSA assessments and in everyday classes.

SMS Families - Register at Game Nite Give-away Registration by March 10th, and we will send home supplies to use to play math games during the virtual workshop and at home.


Join Family Math & PSSA Nite at the link below:


Google Meet Link: https://meet.google.com/sew-zhby-uve?hs=224

NATIONAL LITERACY MONTH

Below is a message from our Reading Coach Mrs. Bergan about National Literacy Month! Check it out!


March is National Literacy Month- A month dedicated to motivating children to read every day. Students at Stewart Middle School have access to books virtually on their Chromebooks through websites like Epic and Scholastic. You can also access books by reaching out to our teachers and visiting our local library. Please visit this website to explore more resources and fun activities in celebration of National Literacy Month! On this website, you can find reading logs, Bingo games, etc.

"PI DAY"

Below is a message from our Math Coach Mrs. Benson about "Pi Day" also known as the International Day of Mathematics! Check it out!


March 14th is known as “Pi Day” (or the International Day of Mathematics)


Pi refers to the ratio of the distance around a circle to the circle’s diameter. Classrooms around the United States and the world celebrate with activities, cool games and lessons, and maybe even some pie to eat! Pi Day is celebrated on this date because the first three digits of Pi are 3.14.


Check out these websites to learn more about Pi!

Pi Facts for Kids https://kids.kiddle.co/Pi

Pi Day https://www.piday.org/

What is Pi Day? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_cQwi7FWh0

The Pi Song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HRkKznJoZA


Bonus: If your child can tell Mrs. Benson the name of a famous scientist born on this day, they will win a prize!


March 23, 2022, is also recognized as World Math Day!

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STATE WIDE TESTING

The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires all school districts to administer WIDA Access, Keystone Exams, and the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) for specific grade levels or courses. As a result, the Norristown Area School District will administer these assessments during the state-established testing windows listed below. We will be working on specific dates and times in the coming months. Also, this is the first year ALL PSSA exams will be completed electronically. We have been practicing all year using our CDT exams so our students will be familiar with this process and platform.


If you have any questions or desire to have your student opt out of the assessments, you should contact Dr. Culbreath or Mr. O’Donoghue. Students may only be exempt from taking the exams if, upon inspection of the current assessment, parents/guardians find the test conflicting with their religious beliefs.

As a reminder, beginning with the Class of 2023, proficiency on the Keystone Exams is one of the graduation pathways under Act 158.


For your reference, information about assessments is provided by PDE and found here. If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding state assessment administration, please contact Mr. O’Donoghue.

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WHAT'S BEEN HAPPENING AT SMS

Community Partnerships!

Councilman Bates eagerly accepted our invitation to visit our building and partner with us as we re-imagine SMS!
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ENGINEERING DESIGN PROCESS LAB

In Mr. Entsuah's 8th-grade science class students are creating the strongest bridge they could create out of spaghetti and marshmallows!! Check out our 8th-grade learners in action creating these bridges:

6th GRADE AWARD CEREMONY

After every marking period, each grade honors our learners at SMS with an award ceremony! The awards range from effort/achievement in each subject, perfect attendance, our wildcat award for students who go above and beyond in and outside the classroom, and many more!!


Check out these photos from our 6th Grade Award Ceremony! Honoring students from marking periods 1 and 2!

EXPLORING FUNCTIONS

In Mrs. Moscovici's 8th-grade math class students are exploring math functions. View the photos below of our learners working together to match stories, equations, graphs, and tables!

ATHLETICS CORNER

A MESSAGE FROM OUR MIDDLE SCHOOL ATHLETIC DIRECTORS

Please view this message from Stewart's Athletic Directors Ms. Dunlap and Mr. Destefano:


All athletics programs and decisions regarding those programs are decided on the district level under the direction of Anthony Palladino apalladino@nasd.k12.pa.us , NASD Athletic Director. SMS does not set dates or activities. If you have specific concerns, athletics information is at this link Norristown ASD Athletics Information . We will share all information with our families as soon as we receive it.

PBIS CORNER

FAMILY ENGAGEMENT IN TIERED SYSTEMS OF SUPPORT

The importance of family engagement is the communication of educational expectations between the student and parent. Studies confirm that actively engaged families play a major role in improving academic and behavior outcomes for their students. A higher rate of student achievement can be seen using two subtle forms of engagement. Two-way communication is one form of family engagement. Two-way communication is responsive, active, meaningful, and positive. Two-way communication creates conversations linked to students learning to maximize the student's needs, preferences, and educational goals. Collaborative problem solving is another form of family engagement which is identifying a structure to effectively solve and remove barriers a student may face that limits students' success. Collaborative problem solving involves positive family support for the student. Family engagement allows family members to engage as equal partners in decision making, planning, and implementation to support the student across settings.

FAMILIES MATTER CORNER

“The single best predictor of student success in school is the level of parental involvement in a child's education”

Anne Henderson


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RESOURCES CORNER

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