Greetings Parents, Students and Community Members,
As you know, the 2013-14 school year has concluded and we are eagerly working in preparation for the coming year. Parents should have received final report cards last week with indications of a student’s successful completion and promotion, retention or need for summer credit recovery. I am happy to report that we had fewer than five students retained and less than 20 in need of credit recovery. Not bad for a population of over 700 students. I think the ICU, although still in need of implementation modification for next year, was a successful support for most families. We assisted with and collected almost 15,000 assignments that would have otherwise been recorded as zeros. See the embedded picture below. I am also happy to report that all of our 8th graders who completed the Algebra I end of course assessment were successful and will go into high school with a math credit and prepared to take geometry. Today I would like to share with you some information related to our summer programming and the exhaustive planning for the next school year.
This summer we are offering a math academy for incoming 6th graders to assist them with the honing of math skills and conceptual understanding in preparation to work within the Springboard curriculum through middle school. Students will participate, by invitation only, for 16 days on this work. Our annual Jump Start program will commence the final two weeks of July to orient our incoming sixth graders to Jones. The program will begin at 8 am and conclude at noon, with lunch and transportation being provided for free. We already have more than 100 students signed up for this program!!! If you have not signed up and wish to participate, please contact Ms. Webb at email@example.com for additional information. The online Jump Start registration form may be accessed through this link https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1IVWKTI2l44ro_cbPFpYC32LCc0dkJ-PYeoxwjSS_P28/viewform.
We have hired four new teachers to replace the few who have moved on to other jobs and one who decided to be a stay at home mother. I also met with two vendors this week to acquire quotes for the chromebooks, carts and covers that we are purchasing for incoming 6th graders. As many of you remember, we purchased 170 chromebooks last year, 120 for checkout by teachers on four carts for student use and 50 for staff members. This year we are purchasing over 250 additional chromebooks so that EVERY 6th grade student will have an assigned chromebook to carry and utilize throughout the school day. My goal is to purchase new chromebooks every year until every student, in grades 6-8, has their own assigned chromebook to use every day, eventually sending them home with students to support flipped instructional design. Teachers have been working on incorporating Google Docs, shared documents, and the the Google educator suite for use this coming school year. This comes at a significant expense but will help us continue our focus on our science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) initiative. Sixth Grade students will begin receiving their Google passwords and be oriented to Chrome and Google docs at Jump Start.
I met last week with Mary Adams, a retired Proctor and Gamble executive and Kathy Maynard, who currently works for the University of Cincinnati with the the Greater Cincinnati Stem Collaborative and representatives from STRIVE and Time Warner Cable on an initiative called the STEM Bicycle Club, similar to what was initiated at Woodward High School in Cincinnati to engage students in science and engineering. Time Warner has been engaged in their “Connect a Million Minds” initiative since 2011 and have agreed to partner with us. Christine Mackin, TWC Community Investment Manager was at Jones on Monday with Mary and Kathy to discuss our roll-out next Fall and follow-up programming. I am super excited about this. Please see the picture and video links to Woodward’s celebration this spring. Pictures: http://leahbarryphotography.pixieset.com/timewarnercablestembikeclub/ Video: http://www.wlwt.com/news/tristate-organization-makes-sure-kids-experience-joy-of-bike-riding/25004294
I want to add that I have been working the past two months on adding additional STEAM programming for next year. One program, called Project Lead the Way (PLTW), https://www.pltw.org/, will engage every 7th grader in a nine week module called Design and Modeling which will teach them to use computer aided design (CAD) and challenge them to complete critical thinking and design tasks utilizing math, science and technology. Our advanced math and science students in the 7th and 8th grade will also be scheduled into nine week modules during JUMP time called Automation and Robotics. This will go a step further, challenging them to participate in collaborative work-groups to build and program robots to complete tasks. We are investing nearly $40,000 as a school to bring this program to our kids. In addition, our 8th grade students had an opportunity this spring to sign up for one of two year-long, computer-based courses in either computer literacy or digital literacy which will provide them with high school credit upon successful completion, enabling them to get a jump-start into their career and technical education pathways as ninth graders. They will be able to accelerate through those CTE paths in high school. We are one of very few local middle schools who can legitimately provide both of these course options as a school must have high school computer and business certified teachers to provide this specific programming. We are lucky enough to have Mr. Humphrey, a high school certified business teacher and Ms. Cynthia Baker, a certified computer education teacher, working in our school to achieve this.
To add the A for art in our STEAM programming, Ms. Puckett created a virtual art museum this year which will be expanded upon next year. Please check out the link from our website : http://jonesart.artsteps.com/pages/viewexhibition.aspx?exhibition=4780¤troom=1 Next year, we will add a virtual choir as well. This has been a goal of mine for two years and we have just hired a new choir director who is eager to carry this through. Our dance and drama courses will continue to thrive and I hope our band can follow in this year’s 8th grade footsteps with perfect distinguished scores once again. I would also encourage everyone to check out our newspaper, the Navigator, created and sponsored by Mr. Greg Davis. His student journalists, copy editors and photographers do all the work to produce a wonderful product. See the link from our website : http://www.boone.kyschools.us/content_page.aspx?cid=896&schoolID=10
Finally, I want to acknowledge our newly elected SBDM members and welcome them to the work that lies ahead. Teacher representatives are Ms. Brenda Colberg, Mr. Seth Eckler, Mr. Todd Hanley, and Ms. Paola Sciaraffia. Our elected parents are Ms. Tonya Brumley, Mr. Gabriel Griggs, and Ms. Tracey Stokes. Please help them do their job by providing them with feedback and suggestions that we can work on as a council.
I wish everyone a restful and relaxing summer with friends and family. Don’t forget that our Readifest will take place on Monday, August 11th from 4-7 pm and the opening day of school for students is on Wednesday, August 13th. As always, please send me a note or give me a call if you have any questions or suggestions. They are ALWAYS welcome. If you have a moment, please check out our school’s website for additional information: www.RAJMS.boone.kyschools.us