Grizzly Gazette- 08/27/22
August 27, 2022
An Awesome First Week of School!
It has been an absolutely amazing first week of school at West Briar MS! We have many new procedures and ventures for the 2022-2023 SY, however students are slowly learning the pace between class periods and are adjusting smoothly to the new year. An incredible special thanks goes out to the @wbmspto who have been operating our School Store every day this week (each morning) and had worked extra hours to set-up during Power Up Night. We are so thankful for what they offer our entire school community!
Though this newsletter typically goes out on Monday mornings, because there is much information going out this week- we thought an end of week notice about various activities would be appreciated.
It's not only going to be a great year to be a Grizzly....we are #GrizzliesPoweringUp in 2022-2023!
There are many calendar updates in this newsletter- so every event is followed by a newsletter article below.
- Aug 29 - Sept 2- Advocacy Bell Schedule all week (bell schedule link)
- Advocacy Lessons- Student Handbook + Power Up Digital Safety Presentations
- September 5- Labor Day Holiday
- September 6 - 9- Laptop Deployment
- By grade-level; All students must have completed 3 steps (see article below)
- September 9- 6th Grade (after-school) Social
- September 13- Meet the Teacher Night (in-person) 5:30pm-7:30pm
*See HISD Academic Calendar Link in blue bar below.
To help parents stay on top of campus events, activities, and important information- we're sharing our morning announcements with the community. This includes sports tryouts, clubs, and other important information that is shared out to students each day.
Use the blue link below to access our morning announcements. This board will be updated when an announcement is made and the newest announcements will be at the top of the page.
Please visit our West Briar MS Car Pool webpage to ensure a safe arrival and dismissal of students and the West Briar community.
Grizzlies Power Up
West Briar is officially becoming a Power Up campus for this school year. This is unlike any laptop program that West Briar has ever had. Prior to this school year, the laptops issued to students were surplus from the Pandemic Hybrid learning environment. Power Up is a districtwide initiative aimed at transforming teaching and learning. We are "powering up" our campus to create a personalized learning environment for today's 21st-century learners. (click on link above for more info)
With this program, we now have two district Power Up support staff helping West Briar teachers, staff, and students facilitate instruction, collaborate with teachers, and engage in today's digitally wired students transform their educational experience.
For each student to receive their loaned, new Chrome book, students/parents must complete 3 Power Up Steps (found on this page also):
1. Pay $25 Power Up Fee
- Cash or debit/credit HERE. (no checks)
2. Read, review, and sign both the Laptop Agreement & the Acceptable Use Policy
- Found here or hard copies can be picked up from the Front Office.
3. Parent Completes the Digital Safety (initial) course
- parent watches digital safety lesson and then submits the Google Form as final step.
***Picture at right shows how to access the campus Power Up Page & campus Power Up Steps page.
Ms. Merriweather (Academic Instructional Technologist) will be presenting a digital safety lesson to students through Advocacy this next week of school. There will also be ongoing, monthly digital safety lesson as well as work to implement the new Canvas learning management system.
2022-2023 Student Handbook Updates
Here you will find the 2022-2023 West Briar Student Handbook and in it you will find campus-wide policies, procedures, and the student Dress Code.
Please note the following changes for this school year:
- Lockers will be used and therefore, students must purchase a combination lock.
- Cell phones will be kept in lockers throughout the school day. (Parents needing to contact students will have to use teacher email or the front desk/house secretary.)
- No Crocs will be allowed & No holes in pants (no rips, tears, etc. even if no skin is showing).
Also see graphic below:
There is one type of lock that is the most user friendly when using campus lockers (see pics/explanations below):
Lock #1- Best Lock for Lockers:
- This blue lock allows for students to share their combination with their advocacy teacher and we keep the combination on file.
Lock #2- Not best lock for lockers:
- Not wide enough to cut through should the student forget their combination.
Lock #3- Not the best lock for lockers:
- Staff cannot keep up with a key for the student should they lose the key. It will need to be cut off the locker.
**The PTO has a limited supply of locks to purchase, but you can easily purchase locks from any store/online retailer.
*Note about Cell Phones
Did you know? 56% of 8th graders who use social media frequently report feeling unhappy compared to 20% of 12th graders who use it just as often. 16-year old students saw their test scores increase by 6.4% after schools banned cell phones.
We are so excited about Power Up for many reasons, but one of them is that there is no longer a reason for students to need cell phones during instructional time. So much research and literature has been published about cell phone usage at school (and even away) by middle school students and how detrimental it can be to their attention spans, mood, and overall wellbeing. Therefore, West Briar will be an cell phone free campus in 22-23 (during the instructional day only). Students will lock up their cell phones in lockers right before first period and then pick them up before they leave for the day. "Brain researchers have found that information we first receive in instruction is more significantly retained if our focus is dialed in the first time we hear/see/do something, rather than being distracted in a failed attempt to multi-task (J. Medina, Brain Rules)." Teachers will then be able to encourage meaningful, focused, academic dialogue and activities within their classroom without the distractions of phone notifications. It's near impossible for students to look away from that Tik Tok notification or that text message that it becomes too difficult to focus on learning.
I am personally asking for your full support in this endeavor as we are going to need it. Students (and adults) are often addicted to their phone being right next to them that we are going to experience true withdrawals and frustration when they have to go without. We know this may be difficult at first, but we are committed to this endeavor for the betterment of our students and ultimately, their success. We have phones in every classroom and our front office is available to get messages to your students. We can do it...with your help and support!
For further information:
New School Counselors❤️
West Briar welcomes three wonderful additions to our administrative team who will help the social/emotional well-being of our entire campus. Seen below, three new School Counselors have been added to our community and we're so excited! All three come with over five years of experience serving as School Counselors and specifically in middle school.
Pictured left to right below:
Katessa Moody- 8th grade School Counselor (email@example.com)
Kendra Boutte- 7th grade School Counselor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Madison Taylor- Social Worker (email@example.com)
Julissa Chavez- 6th grade School Counselor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
School Counselors handle student schedules, but they also help encourage the social-emotional well-being of their grade-level and the entire campus community.
Note from our Counselors:
We have been working on student schedules the entire first week of school and will continue through the second. Please understand that we are also adjusting classes and balancing in order to reduce classroom sizes as much as possible as new students enroll.
- Students can request a schedule change, but they must do so by going to their House Secretary and getting a "Schedule Change Request From." The parent must sign this request (that includes reason for the change) and then student submits it back to their Counselor (or House Secretary).
Please encourage your student to advocate for themselves by seeking out their grade-level Counselor.
Note from Principal Mishlan regarding schedules:
We are addressing large classes this week which means that could involve schedule changes for students in the coming weeks. Please be patient as we are adjusting all classes to ensure the best possible class sizes to ensure a safe instructional environment.
Deadline for all Schedule Change Requests: September 9th.
All West Briar students will receive a Say Something presentation to share the anonymous reporting system- SS-ARS (Say Something- Anonymous Reporting System). An offshoot of the Sandy Hook Organization, Say Something encourages students to recognize the signs and signals of individuals who may be at-risk of hurting themselves or others and then reporting that activity. This enables school staff to intervene well before a tragedy could ever take place.
Encourage your student to be an "up-stander" and report (anonymously) any behavior they are concerned about.
- Call the tip line- 1-844-5-SAYNOW
- Use the website: www.saysomething.net
- Use the mobile app: Apple or Android
Canvas: New this Year
In addition to becoming a Power Up campus, HISD will begin utilizing CANVAS as an instructional base for learning in and out of the classroom. The HUB will be replaced by Canvas.
- More information about the transition to Canvas can be found here: Canvas for Parents (this includes a Canvas Parent App).
- Students will be learning about how to access and utilize their Canvas management system when laptops are issued.
- Classroom textbooks will all be accessible through Canvas and Digital Resources.
Who do I contact?
Attendance: Mr. Anderson- email@example.com
Registration/Enrollment- Ms. Rodriguez- firstname.lastname@example.org
Nurse: Nurse Papillion- email@example.com
Special Education Secretary: Ms. Aguilera- firstname.lastname@example.org
6th Grade House Secretary: Ms. Johnson- email@example.com
7th Grade House Secretary: Ms. Bass- firstname.lastname@example.org
8th Grade House Secretary: Ms. Young- email@example.com
Social Worker: Ms. Taylor- firstname.lastname@example.org
Campus Administrators Webpage (includes new School Counselors)