August 15, 2018
School begins Monday morning at 7:45am. It has been great seeing so many students and their families come through the school in the past week or so. We have had a majority of schedules picked up, but if you haven’t taken the chance to come by yet, please do so. It will be important for students to have their locker information for the first day of school.
We will be conducting Jump Start for the sixth graders on Monday. We would like all students to go to their first period class and be there when the bell rings at 7:45am. Teachers will then escort the sixth graders to the auditorium for Jump Start. I anticipate that Mr. Peterson and I will be able to get through our presentation to them during first period. When the bell rings to end class, sixth graders will leave the auditorium and head to their second period class. We will then bring all students to the auditorium for second period so we can review PBIS and school behavior expectations. This provides us with a great opportunity to review with all students, and it gives us a chance to make sure our 50 or so new seventh and eighth graders are on board with our school plans and focus. The only supplies students need to make sure they have with them on the first day of school are pen/pencil, a notebook, and a folder. Teachers will give additional instruction on what will be needed for classes when students go to class.
We will still be experiencing some construction for the first few weeks of school. They have completed most of the intrusive work on the project, so the disruption to classes should be minimal. They are doing drywall work today, so as of next week the work to be completed will mostly be finish work (mud and tape, paint, carpet in the main office). The elevator itself will be installed when it comes in September. Apparently, it will ship in pieces and be installed in the shaft. Elevator installation will take two weeks and will be completed on the first floor level, so it should not interrupt any classes either. The secretaries and Mr. Peterson have all moved back into their offices, and I am currently set-up in the conference room. With all of us being back in the office area, the main office has been re-opened; however, the front side of the main office where the elevator is being installed will continue to be closed as they finish up their work. If you need to visit the office, please come through the east door behind Ms. Brimley’s desk.
Back to School Night:
We will have Back to School Night on August 20 at 6pm. We encourage all parents to attend. I will provide information similar to what students receive Monday morning. I will also give updates on how our school is doing and what we are continuing to work on. The math department will have their Math Night to provide information about the math curriculum and the new program materials the district adopted for this school year. Finally, the English Department will be there to provide information about Performance Based Grading. All three English teachers will be using Performance Based Grading this school year.
Fee Waiver/Free and Reduced Lunch:
If you would like to apply for fee waiver or free and reduced lunch, please remember that they are two separate systems and applications. Fee waivers are handled with me, so you can fill out the paper work completely and bring it to the main office with your taxes from this past year. If your family qualifies for government assistance, a copy of your most recent benefits definition page will suffice for fee waiver approval. Fee waivers need to be completed at each school where you have children; one application does not cover all of your children. Finally, fee waiver applications are due 30 days after the first day of school, so please don’t wait to apply if you need to.
Free and reduced lunch applications are not handled by the school. You can pick up a paper application in the school office, fill it out, and turn it in to the lunchroom when school starts. The quickest way to apply for free and reduced lunch, however, is to go to www.MYSCHOOLAPPS.com and fill out the application there. Free and reduced lunch applications can be turned in for an entire family of kids at one time, so you will not need to fill it out at each individual school.
As these are two separate programs, the qualification requirements are different. Not qualifying for one does not mean that you won’t qualify for the other. This mainly goes in the direction that it is possible to qualify for free and reduced lunch even if you don’t qualify for fee waiver, so make sure you apply for both. The final thing to remember with both fee waivers and free and reduced lunch is that neither program rolls over from year to year. Both programs REQUIRE that you fill out a new application each school year.
When you registered your student(s) for school you were charged the basic registration fee. This fee covers class fees for required core classes that all students take. Any class fees that will need to be charged for elective classes your student is enrolled in will not be applied to their account until September 20. So, please make sure you check your account again at that time. With our elective classes being quarter long, there will be four times this year that class fees will be charged to your account. I will make sure to give reminders each time.
Last year, Ms. Wiebe-Strong worked diligently on a project I asked her to complete to help you and your student make sure they are choosing reading materials that are appropriate for their Lexile level. All seventh and eighth graders should know their current RI score (Lexile level), and we have color coded all the books in the library based on their Lexile score. Students can choose books in the library that correspond to their Lexile level. Sixth graders will receive their RI score once they have completed the RI test during the second week of school.
Students should be reading books that are within 100 points above or below their Lexile score. This basic rule of thumb doesn’t account for student interest, however, so we do want to make sure that they are having freedom to read books they like. Each family should talk about what balance they want to strike between reading what they really like and find interesting, but also reading books that are challenging enough to help them improve their reading skills. To assist in this, the library has a new system this year that will allow parents to monitor student library use. By going to the library page of the school website, parents can log in and see what books their student is checking out and reading. We will also be working on a few additional initiatives to continue to try to get kids excited about reading.
As always, we encourage all students to read for 30 minutes a night.
We will have a few openings on Community Council for this year. If you are interested in running for a spot, please go to the school website, under the Community Council tab, and fill out a Declaration of Candidacy. This can be turned in to the main office. We will also have paper copies of the declaration available in the main office for those interested. Voting for the open positions will take place September 17, so Declarations of Candidacy are due to the office by August 30. I am required to give the list of names to the district by August 31 so they can set-up the on-line voting form we will use for the elections. If the number of candidates is equal to or less than the number of openings, we will forego elections and all candidates will be appointed to the Community Council. Community Council meetings are on the third Tuesday of the month at 1:30pm, and all members need to be able to attend the meetings, so please keep that in mind as you consider joining the council.
The first sports of the year will be boys’ and girls’ soccer and cross country. The start date for both is August 27. Specific schedules for practices will be released as soon as they are received from the coaches. Meets and games are listed on the school calendar on the website.
Cross Country is an open sport, meaning that anyone who would like to participate is welcome to do so. There won’t be “cuts” and all kids can go to the meets and run. Churchill has done very well in cross country the last few years, and we look forward to getting a bunch of kids out to run so we can continue to strengthen our program.
Soccer will operate under the intramural/competitive format of the team sports. This means that for the first three weeks, anyone can come and play. The coaches will be working on helping everyone improve their skills and have fun playing the game. On September 14, the coaches will choose a team that will then compete against the other junior highs. In order to be eligible to be chosen for the team, a player needs to have attended at least 70% of the intramural sessions.
Utah state law has changed regarding schools and student immunizations. The new changes take effect this school year. I will highlight the most important of the new elements of the law:
- Parents have 21 days to receive required immunizations from the day they are notified of any missing immunizations. We will notify parents on the first day of school. Therefore, there will be 21 days from the first day of school to get updated. If a student does not provide their proof of immunization by September 10, he/she will be excluded from school until proof of immunization is provided.
- The biggest change to the law is that parents can no longer simply provide a letter to the school stating that they are exempting their student from immunizations. If you would like to exempt your child from required immunizations, you must go to immunize-utah.org. Once at the website, you will need to go to the Immunization Education Module. This on-line module will take 15 minutes to complete. Upon completion, the web site will provide a certificate that you fill out, print off, and turn in to the counseling center. Again, this will be the only way to exempt a student from immunizations.
Aug. 20 First day of school
Aug. 20 Back to School Night (6pm)
Aug. 27 Soccer and Cross Country begin
Sept. 3 Labor Day-No School
Sept. 4 PTSA Meeting (11am)
Sept. 18 Picture Day
I am looking forward to a great year!