Thunderblast Weekly

September 12, 2021

Big picture

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

No ugly here... unless you are a Cowboys fan :) With Big D opening the season with a Big L, we all have reason to celebrate. Especially the home team. If you don’t like football, below are some of the things going really well:


  • We had over 20 people at the virtual PTO meeting yesterday and what a start it has been. So many great events, volunteers galore, spirit wear sold out, and parents beginning to see the power of a strong PTO and donating to the cause. Wow!
  • I know you probably want me to put kiss and ride and buses in the "bad" section, but I won't. There were definitely issues the first couple weeks, but it is getting better every day. We heard your feedback loud and clear this week and have been monitoring both much more closely. Thank you for your patience as we continue to work through some of these problems.
  • Speaking of patience, tomorrow is our first day with activity buses. We have 2 buses that depart Seneca at approximately 4:35 and serve our entire cluster zone. Please be patient and if you have the ability to keep in touch with your child, it is important to do this as we establish new patterns. Activity bus stops and times are still being finalized and will be posted on our webpage tomorrow.
  • Activity buses means clubs and activities are starting this week. Although the slideshow below is not complete, we have a ton of offerings. Everyone of our clubs is based on staff and parents volunteering and we couldn't be more thankful for you dedicating your time to such an important aspect of middle school. We are starting clubs approximately 1 month earlier than normal to get our students back involved in the extracurricular fun of middle school. Please talk as a family and find out what clubs were chosen in advisory on Friday. Also, running activity buses means we may have even less congestion at our kiss and ride during dismissal.
  • We have ZERO positive cases of COVID in our building since the opening.


Of course, it wouldn’t be Seneca if we didn’t have a few things we are noticing that we could improve upon:


  • Schoology Navigation- students and parents, if you are having trouble with the calendar, clicking on links, or finding assignments, please reach out for help from your teacher.

  • Independent Work- after a year of lots of scaffolding, we are noticing it has been difficult for students to read directions and problem solve on their own. Confidence and grit will go a long way here.

  • Lunch Time- I have noticed behaviors from some 7th and 6th graders that are not within the realm of normal for Seneca. A family discussion about the seriousness of putting hands on each other and using inappropriate language could really help us with this.

  • Overall Behaviors- I am noticing students lacking stamina in class. I see it in my own children, and I see our students avoiding class by looking for passes more than I have seen in the past. I also am hearing about very late bed times. A consistent early bed time for our middle schoolers is perhaps the most important thing we can do to help build our stamina.

COVID Updates


As mentioned before, ZERO positive cases in the building so far are a testament to the diligence of our students and staff. We now have 10 new picnic tables and regular parent volunteers to continue to support outdoor cafe. Let's work together to keep trending in the right direction. We have to take a second to thank our student helpers for organizing all our new tables below. They are heavy!


Please consider signing-up to help with lunch clean-up. Currently we have only seen 1 bee, which is amazing! Lunch Volunteer Sign-Up

Clubs & Activities

Check out our offerings here. We also have some other clubs below run by parents that are excellent ways to get involved:



  • MathCounts (https://www.mathcounts.org/) is a national middle school mathematics competition that builds problem solving skills and fosters students' love for mathematics through four levels (school, chapter, state, national) of fun contests. Please reach out to Madhura Bhalerao if you are interested. madhura_bhalerao@hotmail.com

Battle of Route 7

Tryouts for the grade level squads are this week! Details below:


  • September 14 and 15, after school from 3:30-4:30.
  • Approximately 20 students per grade level will be selected.
  • Students selected for the grade level squads will have practices on Wednesdays leading up to the big game on October 15 at Dominion High School.
  • Permission Click Form - https://bit.ly/BattleOfRoute7


Be there or be square!

Staff of the Week

Great work leading our summer Bolt Blast Camp for rising 6th graders, Ms. Maida! In addition, we want to thank you for your instructional leadership as a strong CLT lead looking to take risks and try new things.
Big picture

Social Media

You heard it here first. Whether it is backpacks, lockers, COVID mitigation, Schoology, or anything else on your mind, please, please, please, reach out to me first before moving to social media. We teach our students about primary sources. When it comes to Seneca, look no further. I am your primary source. I promise you these are conversations I want to facilitate. Don’t hesitate to call. We had some great questions at the PTO meeting about some of the above and school nutrition. I reached out to the office of school nutrition and should have answers soon.

United Mental Health Team (UMHT)

Looking for a tutor? If yes, check out the Seneca Ridge Tutor List.


Attention 8th Grade Thunderbolts:


Do you have an 8th Grade Thunderbolt interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics? If yes, they may be interested in applying to the Academies of Loudoun? The application window has opened and will close at noon on October 22nd. The application can be found here. Have questions or want more information about the Fall 2021 Admission Cycle, please check out the Academies of Loudoun website and/or attend one of the Parent Information Sessions below:
Big picture

The Academies will be sending one of their Admission Specialists to Seneca on September 23rd and 24th. The Admission Specialist will present to 8th grade students interested in applying to the Academies of Loudoun.



Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (located in Fairfax County)

Is your Thunderbolt passionate about math, science, and technology? If yes, they may be interested in applying to TJ. The TJ application will open Monday, October 25th at 4:00 pm and close on Friday, November 19th at 4:00 pm. To view information surrounding the TJ Admissions Application, please click her here.

MAP Testing

It's MAP time! The Measures of Academic Progress assessments are administered three times per year and give us real-time data on where students are and what they need. To minimize disruption to the school day, we are shifting these assessments back into regular class time this year. The Reading MAP test will be given in English classes on Monday, September 13 and Tuesday, September 14. The Math MAP test will be given in math classes on Monday, September 20 and Tuesday, September 21. Please be sure to remind your child to bring their fully charged Chromebook and charger to school on these days.


MAP tests are totally different from the SOLs. Because these tests are adaptive, students will see questions that are above grade level. In fact, most students will get about 50% of the questions wrong - and that's OK! These tests are intended to take 45-60 minutes and most students will finish in class. If a student needs more time, they will be able to finish up in resource over the next few weeks. Results from these assessments will be posted in ParentVUE shortly after the testing window closes on October 1.

Remind

This school year we will be using Remind to communicate specific messages to families. This will not be used for mass communication. Parents can sign up for the grade level(s) they wish to get text messages from.

PTO Corner

Please head to our PTO website to join SRMS PTO Membership is free but donations are always welcome. If you’d like to get more involved, we have the following chair positions available.

  • Box Tops/Amazon Smiles Coordinator

  • Odyssey of the Mind Chair


Please reach out to Kim Blough vicepresident@srmspto.org if you are interested.


Seeking Corporate Sponsors: If you have a business that would like to be a sponsor, check out our sponsor program https://srmspto.membershiptoolkit.com/sponsors


Retailer Rewards Programs

Join our retailer rewards programs to support SRMS PTO. Every time you shop, you support our school. Click on this link to learn more: https://srmspto.membershiptoolkit.com/retailer_rewards


Social Media: If you haven’t already, please follow us on:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/senecaridgemiddleschool
Twitter https://twitter.com/@SRMS_PTO


Free Webinar Opportunity:

Dr. Cameron Family Coach: October 19 at 6PM - Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to participate in a free webinar with Dr. Cameron, titled: "How to calm the teen drama" - This session will be presented via zoom. Seats are limited. Click on this link to register and to learn more about Dr. Cameron and the details of the webinar.

September 11- Patriot Day

We had a parent share her personal story below:


September 11 is such a personal tragedy. I was a legislative aide for Congressman Todd Platts from York, PA and our staff was just arriving at the office when the Capitol Hill Police officers made us evacuate the Longworth House Office Building. It was a Tuesday so the House of Representatives was not in session for votes until 5 pm. I was over in the US Capitol Building for a meeting and we all fled the Capitol and ran down East Capitol St toward is what now Nationals ball park. We were all crying. We were all in great fear for our lives. We couldn’t back to our cars which were parked in the basement of the US House of Representatives.


That evening, when the traffic jams leaving DC finally let up, I did not go home to my apt in Alexandria. I headed straight for Sterling where my mother and brother lived. They had two little children, both alums of Lowes Island, Seneca Ridge, and Dominion. We played with the kids while watching the terror unfold. We didn't have much to say but we were just happy to be with one another. That evening all the Congressmen and Senators still came to Washington and they all stood on the Capitol steps singing our National Anthem.


Thank you so much for sharing this story. I didn't realize the last part and was able to look it up here. It was good to see camaraderie and resolve in the face of tragedy.

Upcoming Events

Big picture