DCMS Quarter 4 & Summer Newsletter

2018-19 School Year - "Going, going...Gone!"

Sprint Through the Finish Line

As a former track coach and fan of the sport, there are many similarities to a track meet race and the feelings we all have at the end of another school year; exhausted both mentally and physically yet proud of the race we have just completed. We are committed to running/sprinting through the finish line and making sure that we continue to focus on high levels of learning despite the many distractions and disruptions that naturally come with the end of another school year.

It truly has been another great, and extremely fast, school year - my second serving you all as principal at DCMS. Stay tuned throughout this summer break for updates and plans for our third annual Back to School Block Party and our PTO Pool Night. Until then, enjoy the weather, take time to enjoy family and take time to reflect with your student(s) on the school year so we can help them grow to the maximum.

Thanks for all you do to support us in our learning journey.

Mr. Brad McCloskey

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What are PLT/PLCs all about?

One of the questions I get asked by parents is “What are PLC/PLT’s all about?” and “Do they really work to improve learning”?

PLC stands for a Professional Learning Community , or Professional Learning Team, which encompasses all of our educators and staff district wide whom are arranged in collaborative teams. We have many collaborative/data teams that are constantly being informed by data to improve their practice to best serve kids so they can achieve at high levels and grow.

PLC by definition is: “A group of people working interdependently to achieve a common goal for which members are mutually accountable” (Dufour, Dufour, Eaker, Many 2010). “...an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve” (Dufour et. al., 2010).

Here are the driving fundamental and foundational non-negotiables of our Professional Learning Community:

  1. What do we want our students to learn? (the essential, guaranteed, and viable curriculum and standards that all kids must know)

  2. How will we know they are learning? (frequent, team-developed, common formative assessments)

  3. How will we respond when they don’t learn? (timely, directive, systematic interventions)

  4. How will we respond when they do learn? (timely enrichment and extension, TAG etc.)

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I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. Thomas A. Edison


Congratulations to our boys and girls track teams on another outstanding season! Good luck at the Conference Track Meet Friday!

Go Mustangs!

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Meals from the Heartland

On Thursday May 9, DCMS students will be helping to package 50,000 meals through a giving opportunity entitled "Meals from the Heartland".

Thank you to our community sponsors and supporters who helped us make this amazing opportunity possible.

Contact Mrs. Lisa Cook at DCMS for more information.

Employability Skills - **Attention Current 6th and 7th Grade Parents

8th grade students' Career/Technical Courses (CTE courses) will be at the high school 8th hour for three out of their four quarters next school year. 7th Grade CTE Courses will continue to take place at the Middle School 8th hour.

During these experiences, we are assessing and improving student's employability skills/21st century skills.

Click here to access the Employability Skills emphasized in the Iowa Core - https://iowacore.gov/iowa-core/subject/21st-century-skills/2/employability-skills

Contact Mrs. Dixon if you have any questions.

What's Coming Up?

Wednesday 5/1 - Chicago Trip Parent Meeting - 5:00 p.m. (MS Commons)

Thursday 5/2 - 5th/6th Washington D.C. Trip Parent Meeting - 6:00 p.m. (MS Gym)

Friday 5/3 - MS Conference Track Meet @ Albia

Thursday 5/9 - "Meals from the Heartland" - (Mutchler Center)

Monday 5/13 - 8th Grade Class Trip to Des Moines

Tuesday 5/14 - Solo/Ensemble Contest

Wednesday 5/15 - 5th Grade Class Trip to Nauvoo

Tuesday 5/21 - Honor Choir

Friday 5/24 - 6th Grade Class Trip to Bloomfield Pool

Monday 5/27 - No School (Memorial Day)

Wednesday 5/29 - Elementary Relay Day

Thursday 5/30 - MS Talent Show

Friday 5/31 - 12:30 Dismissal - Last Student Day

Have a wonderful May and Summer!


Great articles on how to help your student(s) be the best learner possible. If you don't already follow Edutopia on Twitter, I highly recommend it!


Thanks for all you do as partners in education.

Standards Based Learning Plans Going Forward

DCMS will continue to roll out Standards Based Grading (SBG) with the current 5th grade class into their 6th grade year and beyond. In addition to "stair stepping" SBG through our system with the current 5th grade class, we will also be grading by standards in all elective courses grades 5-8 for the 2019-20 school year. Students will continue to be marked by standard as follows:

M – Meets Grade Level Expectation

P – Progressing Towards Meeting the Grade Level Standard

R – Requires Reinforcement to Meet the Grade Level Standard

Click here for more information about SBG - https://docs.google.com/document/d/16JHLj45qe6MrFoMHTzXA3EAobNcu2AOn0CjqGQvrtq0/edit?usp=sharing

Please contact Mr. McCloskey with any questions or concerns regarding this plan.