Mr. Randy Gratz - Principal
Principal's Monthly NewsletterOctober/November 2016
With the onset of the second nine weeks, and having completed fall break, it is our hope that everyone is refreshed and ready to go! With the week-long Thanksgiving break followed by the Holiday vacation, students should be able to sustain their focus and enthusiasm for academic growth!
In addition, we would like to congratulate Seventh Grade Counselor Mrs. Kimbrell for the recent addition to her family. During her leave, Mr. John Bagan will be CMS’ seventh grade counselor. Mr. Bagan is a former Central English teacher, and, most recently, has filled in for Mrs. Rapp during her leave (Mrs. Rapp has a new addition to her family as well!!).
Although ISTEP+ is several months away, we continue to receive updates from the Indiana Department of Education. Specifically, ISTEP will continue to focus on assessing student abilities in de-coding rigorous text, providing evidence for student answers, and argumentative writing. As in previous years, it is important to challenge students to read more deeply, justify answers with specific evidence from the text, and be able to analyze information. CMS’ academic goals are (as in previous years) that each student achieve academic growth in language arts and math (as compared to last year). Each student, regardless of ability, will show improvement! These goals can only be achieved through support from both school and home. Let’s work together to attain these goals!
CMS seventh grade students were selected to be the audience for the National Theatre for Children production of Energy Agents. Every student received information outlining a goal of saving 10 Million Kilowatt-Hours of energy during the 2016-2017 school year. Incentives of cash prizes for Central as well as Duke Energy providing a free energy kit for every stakeholder associated with CMS! Be certain to ask your student (7th) about the savings opportunity. Simply go to MyEnergyKit.org.
Homework help needed???? Unsure about your middle school math and science background. Then go to the web site (below) for homework assistance, particularly in math and science. The free homework assistance is offered via Rose Hulman students (D3 college in Terre Haute). This free service has been available for years. As a result, all families are encouraged to contact Rose Hulman. www.AskRose.org
Dates, posted on the left, indicate key events. Obviously, you’ll receive this at the end of your student’s Washington D.C. Trip, however, if you have a student in band, please notice the CMS Jazz Band rehearsal start date, Nov. 10th (Tuesday and Friday mornings). Please contact Mr. David Rodgers with questions.
Finally, with beginning of the second nine weeks, winter sports season will be firing up! In addition, our spell bowl team has been practicing for the annual spell bowl tournament (this year located at Brown County Junior High School-CMS’ teams have qualified for the state tournament in the past. It is our hope that this success continues!!!September 2016
Mid-terms are an indicater of student progress, or, conversely, areas in which students are lagging behind. Fortunately, this benchmark is 4.5 weeks into the new school year. As a result, there is no question that students can search out a variety of resources relative to additional assistance. One of the greatest resources comes from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (D3 college in Terre Haute, IN). By simply using the web site, www.AskRose.org, students and families have tutoring available, particularly in math and science. This engineering focused school engages university students with students across Indiana providing homework help and problem solving. Last week, pencils with both the phone number (1-877-ASK-Rose as well as the above noted web address) were distributed to all CMS students. When homework questions arise, be sure to use this invaluable resource!!
BCSC as well as Central Middle School are focusing on Characteristics of an Expert Learner (this is part of the BCSC partnership with CAST-Harvard University). As a result, teachers are creating learning environments in which students begin to take ownership of their learning through rubric-based instruction. Enabling students to understand the goal of the instruction and the why of the need to learn the specific material have been emphasized throughout every class. In addition, providing students opportunities to “dig deeper” into the content and develop the willingness to do so, are part of the definition of expert learners. At home, having conversations about learning preferences, going beyond the surface of assignments, and discussing the why of the work will provide students with additional, authentic opportunities to talk about their learning. Finally, having students, at home, articulate short and long-term academic goals will get students to begin to plan for their educational futures.
The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE)’s required Student Achievement Plan and School Improvement Plan are due Oct. 1st. As a result, ISTEP+ data results from the last three years are being analyzed to develop specific goals. As a result of trends, an ongoing focus on literacy (language arts) and problem solving (math). In addition, students will focus, again this year, reading rigorous non-fiction text and responding to the content through written responses as well as multiple choice. Because ISTEP+, in terms of directions and the complexity of the math problems (the wording, that is), students must consistently navigate the difficult passages associated with ISTEP+. Parents are encouraged to have discussion with their students focusing on student reading.About Mr. GratzRandy Gratz has over thirty yeas experience in secondary education. He has served in numerous roles throughout his career, including as an English teacher, football and wrestling coach, assistant principal, and principal. His tenure at Central Middle School began in 2003, and Central's current building was built under his leadership in 2007. A proud graduate of Manchester College, Mr. Gratz has special interest in performing arts, cultural exchange, and helping Central's students and teachers develop into expert learners.