The Falcon

Fieldstone Middle School * January 2017

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope that this month has been a healthy one for your families and that you've been able to avoid the scourge of the many winter ailments circulating. We've been fortunate at FMS as the weather has rarely kept us indoors at recess, and our students have had the benefit of much-needed fresh air and exercise. A focus this month has been on making good choices as we work to support students in navigating the complexity of technology use and the implications of the proliferation of social media. As a parent, I find it difficult to balance the need to set boundaries for cell phone use while providing opportunities for social engagement on this platform. (Occasional reminders to my seventh grader about who pays the bill does seem to help.) Clearly this issue is one which has to be addressed with our students, so we've infused learning opportunities around this topic in a number of ways.

On January 20th, a representative from the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office presented an internet safety program to our seventh graders. The discussion focused on the need for students to be leaders in the online community, to seek the assistance of adults when necessary, and to understand the precepts of digital citizenship. This was well aligned to our January advisory focus for seventh graders which centered on building a positive online identification. Other grade levels closely examined strategies for making positive choices which connected to the goal of reflecting upon appropriate technology use. As technology has become a predominant tool for learning, the concept of digital citizenship is integrated into all content areas. A recent article from the Washington Post was shared by a teacher with her colleagues and subsequently a number of student groups. The article describes the process by which an attorney rewrote Instagram’s terms of use ‘in plain English’ so kids would know their privacy rights. Students as well as adults have been aghast to learn how little their privacy is protected when using social media sites. Click here to access the article.

Please see below for additional topics of interest and the many reasons why it's great to be a Falcon!

As always, if I can be of assistance to you or your family, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

All the best,

Gina McCormack

Welcome to Mr. Marcoulides!

Seventh graders have been designing controlled experiments on bird behavior and plant growth, observing the ability of mealworms to decompose household waste, and planning animal, plant, virus, fungi, or protozoa model projects under the enthusiastic tutelage of Mr. Alex Marcoulides. With his strong background in science as a middle school teacher and the energy he brings to his teaching, he is a welcome addition to our school community.

Health Office Update from Mrs. Halder

There are a number of children in our school with serious nut allergies. Allergies to nuts claim more lives each year than any other allergy. A child with a serious nut allergy can sometimes suffer a reaction merely by touching food that contains nuts.

Millions of children - children who are perfectly healthy and normal in every other way – must watch every single bite they eat, or risk suffering a severe or even life threatening reaction. A major health issue such as this must be taken very seriously, and it has always been the policy of this school to make the safety and well-being of our students our top priority.

We are asking for your help in educating children about the seriousness of this issue and reinforcing the following safety guidelines:

  • Please do not send any nuts, peanut butter or foods containing peanuts, nuts or peanut butter to be eaten as snacks in the classroom. It is fine to send these products for lunch, which is eaten in the cafeteria.
  • Remind your child that eating is not allowed in hallways, gym locker rooms or at students’ lockers.
  • Remind your child that they should not share the food they bring from home with other students and they should never take someone else’s food or snacks.

This is a learning process for all of us, but we trust that you understand how deeply important it is to respect and adhere to these guidelines. If throughout the course of the year you have any questions or concerns about food-allergy-related issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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Harlem Wizards

Congratulations to all who played in Saturday night’s rematch between the Harlem Wizards and the Montvale Marvels. While not exactly a nail-biter in terms of the outcome, the Marvels played hard and held their own throughout the game. This was also an opportunity for members of our staff to reveal their hidden talents - three-point shooting, alley-oops, and highly skilled ball-handling abounded. Of course it was our student-athletes who outdid themselves during the third quarter. Thank you to the Montvale Education Association for coordinating this wonderful community event.

FMS Students Enjoyed a Lunchtime Visit from a Harlem Wizard

Athletics Update

Be sure to check out the new athletics website. You can find it on our school's site by clicking on the Athletics tab, or by accessing it using the direct link:

The winter sports season is well underway. Our basketball teams have played ten games, all the while demonstrating great spirit, developing their skills, and exemplifying good sportsmanship.

Basketball schedules and game locations for the remainder of the season can be found on the website.

IMPORTANT: The deadline for spring physicals is March 31, 2017.

International Day at Memorial School

Our eighth graders did a fabulous job planning and delivering learning experiences for elementary students during International Day on January 20th. It was very impressive to see them work so well with students in kindergarten through fourth grade. They were organized, patient, and engaging.

Thank you to Mr. Jopp for coordinating this experience!

Drop Off and Pick Up Safety Reminders

In order to ensure student safety, students should be dropped off by driving around the circular drive and stopping near the front door.

At the end of the day, please be sure to follow the route outlined in “Figure A” and only pick up students along the sidewalk in the rear of the building, as shown in “Figure B. Additionally, the following will help keep our students as safe as possible while finding their ride home:

• Please pick-up curbside only; do not park in the parking lot

• Please form 2 lanes when approaching the rear of the building

• Please wait for a staff member to help your child cross the street to the car; do not wave them over

Thank you very much for your understanding and cooperation.

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Forgotten lunches should be dropped off prior to 11:30 AM. Bins labeled by grade level are available in the outer foyer of the main entrance of the school. In order to avoid unnecessary congestion in the main office, we ask that lunches be deposited in the appropriate bin. These are picked up by lunch aides and brought into the cafeteria at the beginning of each lunch period.
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Hoops For Heart Update from the Physical Education Department


It’s time for Jump Rope For Heart or Hoops For Heart, American Heart Association programs that teach students in 38,000 schools nationwide valuable lessons that will last a lifetime, such as:

YOUR CHILD learns about the importance of taking care of their heart and how it works. Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in America? We can change that — 80 percent of risk factors for heart disease are preventable.

YOUR CHILD learns the importance of helping others through this service learning project.

YOUR CHILD feels good for making a difference in people’s lives! Funds raised support the American Heart Association’s research and education initiatives that save lives in our community.



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Congratulations to Mr. Sean Boyle, Fieldstone Middle School's Teacher of the Year!

It's no surprise that Mr. Boyle has been honored by being named the FMS teacher of the year. His students benefit from an engaging classroom environment that's both supportive and challenging.

IMC Update from Mrs. Murrell

The FMS IMC is a happening place, particularly from February 1st until Read Across America Day, March 2nd. At the time of this writing, our annual celebration, Blind Date With a Book, is only a half a day old and 40 books have been checked out by anxious FMS Readers. Holy smokes, if we keep up that pace, by the end of February we will have checked out 1,440 books. Surely the first day excitement will calm down; last year’s final numbers reflected a number equal to two books per each FMS student! Our celebration culminates on March 2nd when four Kindle Fire eReaders are awarded to one student from each grade.

On another reading front, Battle of the Books students have read 136 books since December. This year’s team consists of 23 grade 5-6 team members and 19 members from grade 7-8. We will be traveling to Hillsdale for this year’s competition in May or early June.

Battle of the Books students have teamed up with Reading Rocks students and demanded a book club. Their request was answered and the group will begin in February with their first selection. It is a 616 page volume by author Brian Selznick (family member of FMS student Nick Penza), Wonder Struck. Meetings will take place in the IMC during lunch once per week and will be open to all grade five and six students that would like to read and chat about this wonderful selection. Meetings will be during students’ respective lunch periods.

This past month was a busy one in the IMC with 8th grade ELA students working on individual reading books, Elizabethan England research, and social studies research for International Day. The sixth grade students in Mrs. Carcich’s class took a cart of books on Ancient Egypt for their research and they are currently examining another cart of books on Ancient China. Mr. Marcoulides is investigating our new collection of environmental books purchased by Mrs. Pittarelli and located in the IMC, with a portion of her grant from Bergen County Utilities Authority. Thank you Mrs. Pittarelli. Finally, fifth graders came to the IMC with their ELA classes to get stretch reading books in the historical fiction genre.

It has been a busy month in the IMC and we look forward to seeing our students continue to develop their love of reading @ their library.

Upcoming Events

2/6 - Board of Education meeting

2/17 - Hoops for Heart

2/20 and 2/21 - Mid-Winter Recess

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