Tuesday, March 14, 2017

3rd Trimester Run-Down

It's the last 12 weeks of the school year! Can you believe we are this far into? I know that it's felt like a whirlwind in the front office. I hope you are all geared up for a very eventful and exciting end to the 2016-2017 school year. Here is what to expect:

WEB DJ Skate - March 18th
Parent Education Series - March 19th
8th Grade Orchestra to the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra - March 21st
Author Visit March 22nd-23rd
Jazz Band Concert - March 30th
Spring Break - April 3rd-7th
mSTEP - April - May
TrackLacrosseWashington D.C. April 25th - 29th
Moving Up Day - May 26th
BMS and CHS Band Memorial Day Parade - May 29th
Choir Concert - May 30th
Empire Project Night - June 1st
5th and 6th Grade Band Concert - June 6th
JA Finance Park - June 9th
Academic Honors Night - June 5th, 2017
8th Grade Farewell Dance - June 15th
Last Day of School - June 16th

Keep your eyes open for the Newsletter that comes out every month for more details.

Happy Spring!

Monday, February 20, 2017

100 Days In: a reflection

We just finished 100 days of school here at Beach Middle School, and I want to take a moment to reflect on the school year. I've met so many wonderful families and worked with such admirable and worthy education professionals. Chelsea truly is exactly where I want to be.

A question I often get is how Chelsea, or Beach Middle School, compares to other places I've worked. The answer, however, is very complicated.

In many ways, BMS shares many of the same characteristics of other middle schools; the students are good kids trying to find their way, the staff care deeply for the success of their students, and administration works hard to ensure that there as few obstacles to learning as possible. The community supports the schools, and in turn, the school produces young adults that ready for the world. The differences between BMS and its contemporaries are subtle, but crucial.

After being immersed in the culture of the building, one begins to notice how closely all of the teachers work together. "Teaming" is not a unique concept to Beach, but it is performed better than most schools that I've seen. Teachers take time out of their schedule to meet with the team and discuss student achievement/behavior, coordinate projects between subjects, and organize field trips. Teacher consultants work closely with general education teachers to ensure that the needs of our students with special needs receive the accommodations and modifications they need. Paraeducators work in conjunction with special education and general education teachers to ensure that students can be as successful as possible.

The support offered by our counselors (Dennis Strzyzewski and Marie Lombardo), psychologist (Emily Verbeke), and social worker (Fred van Reesema), is a cornerstone for our building and how we tend to the social-emotional needs of our students. The counseling staff is not merely a reactive group of people, but a team that actively pursues the most effective ways to address the varying and changing needs of our students.

Our food service workers and custodial staff work tirelessly to keep students fed, warm, and safe. Their work cannot be overstated. Without these individuals, our school can't run. This is true in most buildings, but here at Beach our food service workers know kids by name, they are aware of food allergies and taste preferences. The custodial staff is present during lunch time to interact with students and help hold them accountable for their areas. It's truly a village here at Beach.

The strength of the schools, however, resides in the community's support. There are myriad examples of the charity and favor given to the schools, but most recently, Beach Middle School has received support in the form of scholarship money for some 8th graders to attend the Washington D.C. field trip in April. There were moments of concern as to how we would cover the costs of some of our students with financial need. The concerns were alleviated when word got out, and the community responded with an outpouring of generous donations that have covered the expenses. The donations varied in size, but what was constant was the speed at which families and companies contributed.

Athletics in Chelsea call back to a time that preceded pay-to-play, year-round specialization, and the "whatever it takes to win" mentality that seems to present in high school athletics today. Student-athletes in Chelsea are encouraged to play as many sports as they possibly can, and they're able to do so because Chelsea sports are free to all students. It's a stark contrast to what we see around the state - sometimes families can only afford for their student to do one sport, or no sport at all. In Chelsea, it's apparent that there is push to make everything accessible, regardless of financial obstacles. Student-athletes in Chelsea learn life skills by working as a team, focusing on personal growth, and accountability for their actions.

After 100 days, I see the similarities that I see in many buildings, but at its core, Chelsea schools and Beach Middle School offer faint differences that make this a wonderful place to be. As cliche as it sounds, my first 100 days only make me want 1,000 more.

Monday, January 23, 2017

ALICE Training and Talking to Your Student

This week, students at Beach Middle School are going through ALICE training. For those of you who are unaware of this program, ALICE is a plan for individuals and organizations on how to more proactively handle an active threat.

Similar to fire drills, tornado drills, and other like it, the ALICE training drills are a way for students to practice responses to various intruder threats. By addressing this in class, students can dialogue and problem solve in the event that there is a threat.

ALICE is an acronym for "Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate". Students go through scenarios where they incorporate proactive methods, rather than passive strategies to stay safe in the event of a threat.

It's possible that your student will come home with questions about the training. If that is the case, please refer to the following website for more details. Also, don't hesitate to contact your student's team of teachers to discuss the training and how you can help facilitate your student's comfort and confidence in the program.

ALICE Training

Friday, January 20, 2017

After-School Homework Club at Beach!

We are so excited to announce the inception of a new after-school program that assists students who are struggling with homework completion. Through the generosity of the Chelsea Education Foundation, Beach Middle School is able to provide this opportunity.

The program is coordinated by Chelsea Raupp, a Chelsea native and paraprofessional at Beach Middle School. During this hour-long session, students review their grades and identify missing assignments to be completed. Students are provided a snack, support, and a safe, quiet environment to complete their work.

In order to be eligible for the program, teams of teachers evaluate their rosters to identify students that are falling behind in work completion. The team then reaches out to the student and their parents. With parental consent given and transportation organized, the student will show up in the media center on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays until all of the work is made up.

We make a point to explain to participants that the after-school program is not a punitive measure, meant to humiliate or discipline students; rather, the program is here as an additional support to those that need it. If you feel like your student would be a good candidate for the program, please discuss this with your student's team of teachers, as there are additional parameters that the student has to meet in order to qualify.

As always, we strive to do what is best for students, and feel confident and excited that the after-school program will be a step in that direction.

Go Dogs!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Preventing Brain Drain Over Break!

Students, Teachers, Parents... heck, almost everyone, is excited for Winter Break! There is a lot of cheer throughout the hallways as Thursday approaches. 

One thing that we've noticed over the years is that many students see a lull in their performance at school when they return from break. That's an obvious conclusion for many of our readers, but what you may not know is how to prevent the brain drain that occurs over break. Here are a few helpful ideas:

1. Every student at Beach Middle School is required to read - don't let your student tell you otherwise! If you are looking for some good titles, there are some great resources at your local library or with Sheryl Dewyer here at Beach!

2. Making connections with school work and every day life - many of your students are currently working on projects, content, or literature that can be related to every day life. For instance, 7th graders are all reading "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. Make the connection by showing your student different versions of that classic on television. My personal favorite is "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol". 

3. Take 5 minutes to get updated - the hectic school and work schedules may have you out of the loop with your student's academic life. Take 5 minutes on 4 different days to go over core classes (English, Math, Social Studies, and Science) with your student. Have your child show you their teacher's Haiku page and their PowerSchool grades. This is a great way to remind students of their previous work, and a great way for you to reconnect.

4. Get organized! - your kiddos do a good job of juggling the flaming torches of school work. This winter break is a great opportunity for your student to get organized and purge their notebooks, folders, etc. Coming back from break with a clear mind and organized binder will take a lot of anxiety away.

5. Read with/to your student! - Studies show again and again that reading with/to your child can yield some of the greatest gains in their comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary. It does not matter what age your student is, it helps! 

The staff here at Beach wish you the most pleasant of times over the next few weeks, and we hope that your student is well-rested and happy for their return in January.

Happy Holidays, Chelsea!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pre-Holiday Post!

Every one is feeling it right now. There's a bit of an itch - a tension that is palpable. Students (and staff) need a break! We have been on a grind since the start of the school year, and this Thanksgiving will be a welcomed respite.

There are a couple of things to keep an eye out for if you're interested in seeing our middle schoolers in action!

  • The Robotics Team will be competing in Mason this weekend and in Howell on 12/3! Bleep, bloop, bleep, whirrrrrr (that's Robot-talk for "Good luck")
  • The Boy's Basketball teams have begun their seasons. You can find the full athletic calendar here.
  • Science Olympiad is practicing after school and will begin competition soon!
  • The Drama Club is working their thespian hearts out! 
  • Our Making Money class, with Mr. Thorburn, is taking a field trip to the Junior Achievement Finance Park in Detroit. For more information check out this link.
  • Our WEB Leaders are planning some fun activities for our 6th graders, but I've been sworn to secrecy... gobble, gobble.
  • 6th graders are headed to the Henry Ford Museum to watch the IMAX movie about our National Parks on December 1st. I can't wait!
  • Band, Choir, and Orchestra have concerts the week of 12/5
  • The first home swim meet of the year is 12/12. Come visit Beach to watch aquarial (I made that word up) students compete!

Don't forget, the trimester ends 11/22. Schedules change and grades are finalized.

Enjoy your Turkey Day!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Athletics at BMS: hidden academic and social benefits

The Fall season is coming to a close around the state. Here at BMS, we saw all of the obvious benefits of extra-curricular sports: team work, socialization, and an increased understanding of their sport. What many people don't see, however, are the additional academic and social benefits of participating in athletics.

This blog post is not being negligent in leaving out important after school clubs and organizations like Science Olympiad, Robotics, and others. However, there are obvious academic benefits to participation in those activities. It's unquestionably important for students to be active in many different arenas outside of the school building, and we are extremely proud of all students and their endeavors.

Many parents and teachers report that student-athletes see a boost in their grades during their sport seasons. This can be attributed to the fact that those students are more physically active, which has a proven correlation to academic success. Sports offer student-athletes an unexpected gain in skill when it comes to the classroom: time management. Student-athletes have to be cognizant of the time constraints that sports put on their schedule, particularly with homework. Often times, the rigorous calendar of sports will force families to carve out time to address academics. A Heather Clark article from 2015 showed "connections between sport and positive psychological and social outcomes, including self-esteem, self-regulation, general life skills, and pro-social behaviour." (Clark, 2015). 

Here at Beach Middle School, 45% of all students participate in an after-school sport. That is a staggeringly high percentage of participation for any schools district. This article could go on to talk about how Chelsea is not pay-to-play, how there are no cuts at the middle school level, and how everyone gets substantial playing time, but that's a blog post for another day. In the end, the Chelsea School District wants to see as many students participating in after school activities as possible. It's mutually beneficial for the student, the family, and the school district. 

If your student is not signed up for a sport or after-school activity, here are some resources for you to get the ball rolling (pun intended).

Beach Athletics Homepage

Beach Extra-Curricular Activities

Sports Physical Form

As always, thank you for reading and Go Bulldogs!