Your Weekly Update from Kennedy Middle School
Week 12 of the school year ... home stretch for Thanksgiving
Dear Kennedy Families and Caregivers,
I am thrilled to introduce to you a new SEL program here at Kennedy called the Positivity Project. The Positivity Project (aka P2) is an SEL educational program based on positive psychology. As a middle school community, Kennedy will be introducing positive characteristics over the course of this year. P2 is tailored for each grade level and all Kennedy staff have access to an abundance of resources to be utilized throughout the year. We are especially excited to be doing this work in collaboration with Wilson Middle School.
My vision is that this program will provide common language, common experience, and common purpose to provide social emotional well being for all our students. I'm particularly thrilled there is a family component to this program. Each week, I will be sharing the strength of the week and a letter to families to continue conversations from school to home. Below I have embed the first kick off letter for families and caregivers. In the future, I will post a short blurb in the newsletter with a description of the strength of the week and the link to the weekly family letter.
"Dear Families and Caregivers,
This week our school community will be focusing on the Other People Mindset.
The mission of the Positivity Project is to empower America’s youth to build positive relationships by understanding, appreciating, and exemplifying the character strengths in us all. People who have strong positive relationships do five things consistently - these are the five practices of the Other People Mindset. 1. Recognize the good in other people, 2. Recognize that everything you say or do affects other people, 3. Support others when they struggle, 4. Cheer people on when they succeed, 5. Remain present when giving people your attention. People who have a strong Other People Mindset are able to build and maintain strong, positive relationships with others.
While mental health is incredibly complex, we do know that positive relationships can help people become happier, healthier, and more resilient. And, the Positivity Project believes that educators have a huge opportunity and vital role to play in this endeavor. Our nation’s youth spends a large percentage of their time in school. By deliberately and consistently teaching students that relationships are important -- and that positive relationships are cultivated through character and the Other People Mindset -- educators can roll back these trends and create strong citizens and leaders for our communities and countries.
To practice and encourage the character strength of Other People Mindset with your child, please visit the Positivity Project’s P2 for Families (password: P2) where together you will watch a video, read a quote and talk about the answers to three questions. Once logged in, scroll down to the characteristic page for Other People Mindset (near the bottom) and click on the 'Intro' tab. You will find the family lesson there for this week.
Have a wonderful week!"
As you can see, this is an amazing opportunity for learning for our students. We are excited to partner with you along this journey.
Coat Donations for the Interact Club: The Kennedy Interact Club is hosting a coat drive! Bring in any new or used coats to donate. The club is also accepting boots, gloves, and any other winter gear. The coat drive is from November seventh until the thirtieth. There is a donation box stationed at the front entrance of the school so come and donate to people in need!
New Dress Code for Student Handbook: We want to update all staff, families, and students of the new dress code that was passed at a recent School Committee meeting. The new policy, which goes into effect immediately, was created through a collaborative process that included students, administrators, staff, parents and the school committee board. We will all implement these expectations which are designed to allow students free expression, display their own true identities, keep a safe and professional working environment, minimize racial, gender identity, cultural, religious and gender impacts for redirection for wearing certain clothing. We will notify students in the next few weeks. Here is a link to the new dress code. Our school handbook will be updated accordingly.
Kennedy sports update - Registration for winter sports is happening now. See below for directions.
Jodie Cohen, Principal
“Things are never quite as scary when you have a best friend.“
- BILL WATERSON
Twitter - @KennedyMSNatick
Instagram - @KennedyMSNatick
Upcoming Spark Kindness Presentation
Thursday, December 8 at 7pm via Zoom — For parents, caregivers, educators, and community members of all ages
SPARK Kindness has assembled a team of experts to help you survive and thrive during the hectic end of year season. Author and expert Ned Johnson, Licensed Mental Health Counselor Janine Halloran, and SPARK founder Christine Guthery will offer practical strategies to support you and your loved ones. Everyone is welcome!
ASL Interpretation will be provided at this event. Please visit www.SPARKKindness.org to register for this or any of our FREE programs, discover additional resources, and get information about how to get involved with SPARK!
From Special Education Coordinator, Jennifer Braman-Parikh
Even though the weather has not consistently been that crispy, New England type weather, November is here! And the weather is getting chillier. You can see it in the trees and on the ground, As Sarah Addison Allen puts it, “It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon.” Our students are definitely settled back into the routine of school.
Special Education Department Staff Focus:
Meet our Special Education Reading Specialist! Celina Calderon is currently in her 16th year of teaching in the Natick Public School system. Throughout her time in Natick, she has worked as a special educator for grades 2-8, served as a lead special educator in the Literacy Extension and Practice Program for grades 5-8 and most recently held the Literacy Specialist position for grades 5-8 at Wilson Middle School. Celina has a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Middle School Education with a Specialization in Teaching Reading, and a Master’s Degree of Education in Moderate Disabilities Pre K-8 from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. In addition, Celina is a certified Wilson Level I Reading Instructor and trained in the EmPOWER method for writing instruction.
Currently, Celina is the Reading Specialist for Special Education at Kennedy Middle School. In this role, Celina not only works directly with students 5-8, but also collaborates with special and general educators at Kennedy to implement Science of Reading instructional teaching practices within their classrooms. She is currently collaborating with District Administration and her special education colleagues to make the language and literacy curriculum more accessible to all students.
What does it mean if a child is identified as a “struggling reader”?
What type of literacy program/curriculum should they receive?
Reading does not develop as naturally as our oral language, nor does it consist of just one skill. It is actually made up of many different sub-skills. Below is Scarborough’s Reading Rope, a visual representation of the Word Recognition (Decoding) and Reading Comprehension subskills that are necessary for a child to become a “skilled reader”. A “struggling reader” may have weaknesses in one or more of these areas. (See picture below left)
When a child is identified as a “struggling reader” their educational team will work together to complete diagnostic assessments which will help to identify which reading subskill areas they require additional support and instruction in. Due to the complexity of reading, and of our childrens’ own neurodiversity, it is extremely difficult to find one program and/ or curriculum that will meet the needs of all of our developing readers. Therefore, emphasis should be placed on a Structured Literacy approach to reading instruction which addresses all of the Word Recognition and Reading Comprehension subskills shown in Scarborough’s Reading Rope.
Source: https://dyslexiaida.org/what-is-structured-literacy/ (See picture below center)
Source: https://dyslexiaida.org/what-is-structured-literacy/ (See picture below right)
Below you will also find a series of videos that seek to provide parents and educators with a basic understanding of the science behind reading development as well as additional resources for parents from ReadingRockets.org and ReadingPartners.org, a nonprofit organization that helps to mobilize communities and aid in providing families with literacy resources and support their children may need to become proficient readers.
The Science of Reading Basics Parts 1-3 - video series; Less than 2 minutes each!
Executive Functioning Tips
Organization is an important skill to learn while in middle school. Two difficult organizational skills for students is remembering to bring their materials to class and then remembering what to bring home for studying and homework.
To help remember to bring things to class use the CLASH strategy. Check your calendar. List the items you need for the next day. Always gather the materials from your list. Set your book bag by the door. Have a list in your locker of the materials you need.
Check your calendar.
List the items you need for the next day.
Always gather the materials from your list.
Set your book bag by the door.
Have a list in your locker of the materials you need.
For the “C” make sure that you know which letter day is tomorrow and which classes occur on that day, is it a special schedule or a normal school day, put all your Google Classroom assignments in once place so you can plan your day. For the “L” use a sticky note to list the materials needed for the next day, maybe your teacher gave you something to give to a parent, include that too. For the “A” before you go to bed that night, make a pile of the items you need and put them in your bag, for the “S” then place your bag next to the door. For the “H” (prepare this the night before), make a short note, place it in your locker for any items you need for each class.
To help remember to bring home things that are needed for studying and homework use the ADAPT strategy. At the end of each class, make a list. Decide what you need to take home from the list. Ask your teacher to explain. Pause, and ask yourself, “Do I have everything I need?” Try not to give up!
At the end of each class, make a list.
Decide what you need to take home from the list.
Ask your teacher to explain.
Pause, and ask yourself, “Do I have everything I need?”
Try not to give up!
For the “A” shoot yourself an email with the list or put a note in your planner for items you’ll need to complete this at home. For the “D” use the above list as a checklist when you go to your locker before you go home. For the “A” think about staying after school to get clarification. For the “P” look one last time before you get on your ride or walk home to be sure you have everything. For the “T” if you did in fact forget something, phone a friend, email your teacher, or try your best to show you tried to complete the homework, even without the materials.
Source: Minskoff, Esther, Ph.D. & Allsopp, David, Ph.D. Academic Success Strategies for Adolescents with Learning Disabilities & ADHD. Brookes Publishing Company 2003.
Visiting Graphic Novelist at Kennedy this week, Mat Hegearty
A big THANK YOU to the Kennedy PTO for sponsoring a visit from Mat Hegearty, graphic novelist. The students were excited to meet him, hear his story, and ask many questions about his journey through school to writing popular graphic novels. A big shout out to the PTO for making this special event happen for our students. We can't thank you enough!!!
SEVEN Things You Need to Know
1 - Grade 8 to 9 Transition to Natck High School Timeline
Letter to families from Mrs. Morin, 8th grade school counselor:
Good Afternoon Grade 8 Parents,
Today your child reviewed the Natick High School Transition Timeline of events with their guidance counselor, Mrs. Morin. Students were given a paper copy to take home. We've attached the timeline here for your review and reference as well. While the first "event" doesn't take place until January, many students have begun thinking about their next steps after middle school and have asked how the process for preparing for high school will unfold. Please don't hesitate to reach out to the admin team or Mrs. Morin with any questions.
Here is the link to the Grade 8 to 9 Transition Timeline.
2 - Middle School Tutoring Program at NHS
We are happy to announce that KMS is continuing our collaboration with the high school and running a tutoring program for middle school students at Kennedy and Wilson. There are members of the National Honor Society at the high school who are volunteering to tutor middle school students. Our hope is to create tutoring partnerships that will primarily meet in person at the high school library between 2:30-5 p.m. as it will be monitored by a staff member. Occasionally, sessions can be held via Google Meet as a virtual option. Families will primarily be responsible for transporting their students to the high school for their tutoring sessions. We are providing training for the tutors on best practices for working with middle school students.
If you are interested in signing your student up for tutoring, please fill out this form. The hope is to get students matched with tutors by the end of November.
3 - Kennedy Middle School Winter Athletic Teams
Winter Sports Offerings:
Boys Basketball (Grades 7 & 8)
Girls Basketball (Grades 7 & 8)
Boys & Girls Wrestling (Grades 5-8)
Winter Athletics Virtual Informational Meetings
To Register for Kennedy Athletics
- Registration for Kennedy Athletics can be done completely online via FamilyID.com (Online Registration Instruction Sheet). Choose "Natick Public School Athletic" and the correct Program (Kennedy Winter 2022-2023 Registration for 7th & 8th Graders or Kennedy Winter 2022-2023 Registration for 5th & 6th Graders).
- Please upload your child's medical physical* on FamilyID. The medical physical date must be within 13 months of the start of the season in order to participate in athletics. If you need a new physical and cannot get an appointment with your child's physician, you may want to consider going to an Urgent Care or Minute Clinic or have your doctor write a note stating the date of your child's upcoming physical and that your child is "healthy and able to participate in sports. If you would rather bring a printed copy of the physical, please turn into Mr. Lyth.
- The preferred payment method for athletics at Natick is online at UniPay (Natick Public Schools - Kennedy Middle School). The athletic fee is $225. You can also pay by check if you prefer with the check made out to "NHS Athletics" and given to Mr. Lyth. All athletes need to pay before tryouts/first wrestling practice. Students who do not make the basketballs teams will be refunded. The deadline to complete registration is 11/22/22. Student-athletes cannot participate in athletics until this registration process is done! Vaccination & testing requirements are no longer required for participation in athletics in Natick.
- 7th & 8th grade student-athletes will need to complete three free NFHS courses (Implicit Bias course, Hazing Prevention for Students & Concussion for Students) 1X a calendar year. 5th & 6th grade student-athletes will need to complete the NFHS Concussion for Students course 1X a calendar year. These are required by MIAA schools and NPS student-athletes at the MS & HS levels. After completing a course, the student-athlete will earn a "completion course certificate." This should be uploaded in the appropriate and designated area during registration on FamilyID. The courses are linked in the registration on FamilyID but here are the links for the courses also: NFHS Implicit Bias Course, NFHS Hazing Prevention for Students & NFHS Concussion for Students. FYI...after visiting the page for the course you will need to order the free courses. You will also need to create an NFHS account (under student-athletes name) if you don't already have one setup.
If you have any questions please email Mr. Lyth, email@example.com.
4 - KMS Fall Play 2022 "The Snow", by Finegan Kruckemeyer
When an epic snowfall imprisons the residents of the tiny village of Kishka, young Theodore Sutton proposes the villagers build a catapult to fling him and six of the village’s bravest and strongest out in search of a solution. The catapult hastily assembled, Theodore and the heroes are launched over the snow and into the grandest of adventures. Whimsical and humorous, dark and mysterious, heartfelt and sincere, this play weaves a fantastical Grimmsian tale for the entire family.
Performances will be:
- Friday November 18th at 7:00pm
- Saturday November 19th at 7:00pm
- Sunday November 20th at 2:00pm
Tickets are $10, available at the door, and in the Kennedy front office the week prior to the show
5 - Picture Retakes, Wednesday, December 7th
For any student who was not in school on our last picture day (October 20th) or for anyone who would like a retake, the photographers will be returning to Kennedy for retakes. The original prints will be sent home before this date for review. You may still order prints on www.coffeepond.com.
6 - Yearbook Orders
The full-color, 64+ page, hard-cover yearbook that chronicles the highlights of the 2022-23 school year is on sale now! We are discounting the book until November 14th. If you reserve your copy before 11/14 the price is only $30. After the 14th, the cost increases to $35. All orders must be placed by January 10, 2023, to be guaranteed a book! Any orders placed after January 10th will cost $40 and are subject to availability. Order your book today! 8th-grade students who qualify for financial aid should speak to their guidance counselor about seeing if they qualify for a free book.
7 - UPCOMING SCHOOL EVENTS for your calendar
- Wednesday, November 23: Release Day
- Thursday, November 24: Thanksgiving holiday - NO SCHOOL
- Friday, November 25: NO SCHOOL
- Monday, November 28: NILS Teacher Professional Development Day - NO SCHOOL
Paper - On-Demand Tutoring
Natick Public Schools is excited to announce our partnership with Paper for on-demand tutoring for NHS students. Paper is a secure, online tutoring service that provides students with unlimited, 24/7 academic support. Whether they’re stuck on homework, studying for a test, or need someone to read and make suggestions to their essays, there will always be experts available online to assist students in over 200 subjects and more than 4 languages.
Paper tutors have been specially trained to conduct expert, academic support in a secure, chat-based platform. With a commitment to helping students learn, they’ll never give students answers, but rather interact with them in an encouraging tone to lead them forward.
This is a free service that we’re providing, so students are encouraged to use it as much as they need, whenever they need. Our teachers also have accounts and will be able to review all student activity to see what they’re working on and provide more targeted instruction as needed.
If you’d like to learn more about Paper you can sign up for a Paper hosted Parent Info Session, available in both English and Spanish.
To see Paper and the help it offers firsthand, we encourage you to login with your students. To get started, simply visit PAPER’s student login page, type your school’s name, and log in via Google using your school credentials
We’re thrilled to offer our students the unlimited, 24/7 support that Paper provides and we can’t wait to see what we’re able to accomplish together.
Our Kennedy Middle School PTO works hard behind the scenes to support our school in a variety of ways. They are working diligently to bring great activities to our school community. Please check out their website for more information.
- Title I: Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990Title II
- Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990Title VI
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964Title IX
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
- MGL, Ch.76, Section 5: Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 76, Section 5