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Friday Focus 010915

posted Jan 9, 2015, 11:28 AM by Michael Lepene


RMFriday Focus 
Friday, January 9 2015


Wall display at RMS created by Liz Powers, RMS Guidance.

+Principal’s Corner

Dear Parents/Guardians, 

Welcome to the new year! We are off to a great but cold start. Here are some highlights:

Spotlight School Designation by the New England League of Middle Schools. 
We have received word that the Frances C. Richmond Middle School has been designated as a Spotlight School by the New England League of Middle Schools (NELMS). This follows an application and site visit by a team of reviewers. NELMS officials cited a number of indicators that made it evident that, "RMS has continued to make progress and be committed to effective instruction, collaboration, teaming, continual growth and a solid understanding of the young adolescent." NELMS specifically commended the RMS community for the following:

-Providing students with enhanced curricula opportunities by taking advantage of its partnerships with Dartmouth College and CRREL.
-Providing students with a strong "hands on approach" to lessons and assessments.
-Creating a strong supportive environment between students and staff.
-Providing a wide array of elective/enrichment opportunities.
-Maintaining a strong commitment to the "middle school" model and supporting these grades as an "explorative and growth" period for this age group.

Participating in the Spotlight School award process with NELMS has provided the staff at RMS with both some validation of current efforts and also opportunities for growth and exploration. I am extremely proud of our staff, students and community. We know there are many opportunities to continue to grow as a school and community of learners and we look forward to your continued partnership in these efforts. As the NELMS organization says, New Exciting Learning Maximizes middle School.

Q3 Elective Arena Scheduling
Students will participate in an arena scheduling process to sign up for their third quarter electives on Monday. This week students were given a copy of their draft Q3 schedule and a grid of electives being offered. Students were asked to think about their preferred choices in preparation for Monday. I've included a brief statement from the RMS Elective Team's web page:

The Elective Program at the Richmond Middle School allows students to explore a variety of subjects beyond their core academic classes and to delve into one or more that they feel passionate about.  Because students can choose to sign up for electives multiple times,  they have an opportunity to dig as deeply into one area as they desire.  In other cases,  students may simply choose to sample a new skill.  We honor student choices and our goal is to meet students where they are as we also challenge and move them forward.   

Diversity Education at RMS
The staff and students at RMS are kicking off 2015 with a pilot programs that includes activities and education related to appreciating differences. Diversity education is critical to building a strong community at RMS because it promotes respect and inclusion, aligns with the goals and mission of RMS, models communication and conflict resolution skills, and ties in with myriad curriculum objectives. 
At Wednesday's staff meeting, guidance counselor Liz Powers led other teachers and support staff through activities that will become a part of seventh grade morning meetings this spring. Activities included learning new things about one another, building classroom rules that will support discussions about sensitive topics, exchanging international greetings, and exploring aspects of identity through an art project. It is our hope to continue adding community events that will celebrate diversity at RMS in the future!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Michael Lepene 

+RMS Quick Poll 

This week I had the opportunity to serve on a panel of school administrators speaking to pre-service teachers at the Upper Valley Educators Institute. The panel was asked to share some examples of what we look for when screening and hiring potential new teachers. While we look for a wide range of skills, mindsets, and experiences I thought I would share a few that rise to the top for me.
-Demonstrated passion for learning and teaching subject area.
-Skill-set that aids in meeting the needs of all learners.
-Collaborative, team-oriented approach to teaching.
-Specific knowledge and interest in level/age-group of school.

Of course, there are many more. For the poll question this week I'd like to ask you. 

What do you feel are the most important things to look for in a new teacher hire? 

+All School News and Events (RMS web site has GoogleCal with events and dates/times) 


Friday, January 9 RMS Talent Show. RMS Auditorium. 7p. SOLD OUT

Monday, January 12 Q3 Elective Arena Scheduling

Friday, January 16 Staff Appreciation Lunch (see note below)

Monday, January 19 No School - MLK Holiday

+RMS Notes and Information

-Informational Meeting for RMS Transition for Ray School 5th Grade ParentsMonday, March 9, 6-7 PM, Ray School Multi Purpose Room Please join the RMS Guidance Counselors John LaCrosse and Liz Powers, as well as Associate Principal Amanda Yates, for a Q & A session.
This initial meeting for parents of current 5th graders, will help answer questions about topics including choosing classes, the schedule, the elective program, and the structure of middle school teams. We hope to see you there! 

-Informational Meeting for RMS Transition for MCS 6th Grade ParentsTuesday, March 17, 6-7 PM, Marion Cross School Library Please join the RMS Guidance Counselors John LaCrosse and Liz Powers, as well as Associate Principal Amanda Yates, for a Q & A session. 
This initial meeting for parents of current MCS 6th graders, will help answer questions about topics including choosing classes, the schedule, the elective program, and the structure of middle school teams. We hope to see you there!

-BABY PICTURES Attention Parents of 8th Graders! It's that time of year when the Yearbook staff is looking for your child's cutest baby picture. Please work with your son or daughter to choose one picture to send in the form of a JPG to Mrs. Powers no later than January 23rd. Mrs. Powers' email is

-Limited Time Yearbook Discount Ends Soon! The Yearbook Staff has been selling Yearbooks periodically during lunch and snack. Yearbooks are currently $15, but the price will go up to $20 at the end of the month. Please make Yearbook checks payable to RMS. If dropping a check off at RMS, please leave them for Yearbook Advisor Liz Powers

-As the new year begins, we want let the staff at RMS know how much we appreciate them! We will be serving lunch and holding a raffle for staff on FRIDAY, JANUARY 16TH from 11:30am-2pm.  The lunch and raffle will recognize front office staff, teachers, ed assistants, cafeteria staff, custodians, support staff, guidance counselors, nurses, crossing guards and bus drivers. We would love your help! 
Please click
to add your name to the google doc. 
Some suggested raffle item ideas are gift certificates, homemade gifts, car washes, farm fresh eggs, or movie tickets. Items can be sent in on JAN 16TH  with your child or can be dropped off in office by 11am.  
Any questions, please email or call 603-359-1881.
The staff really appreciates these celebrations.
Thank you! Kirsten Elin Richmond Community Group

-RMS 2nd Annual Climbing Nights
 at the River Valley Club will be January 21 & 22, from 5:50-8pm. Students who are interested in attending should fill out the permission form: and return it to Ms. Patch electronically or paper copy. You can also pick up a form from outside Ms. Patch's office, find it on our PE webpage under "forms" or on Ms. Patch's twitter feed @RMSPhysicalEdu.
In Physical Education class the students have all learned about climbing and practiced on our climbing wall, understand what route are and they are identified by tape, they can all put on their own harness, clip in their carabiners, lock them and perform a "squeeze check" to be sure it is locked. We have also done prussic knot climbs and crate game challenges. They can all Australian Group Belay (using 5 people clipped into their harness and backing up). Some of the students from last year are certified to belay at the RVC and others can learn and be certified that night. 
The River Valley Club and Ms. Patch are hoping to future expand the students knowledge of climbing as a lifelong physical activity. This opportunity will give students a chance to experience a real climbing gym and challenge themselves physically while participating in healthy risks. We also want students to learn more about our local resources we have in our community so they can take advantage of them outside of school. A big thank you to the River Valley Club for hosting this event free of charge to RMS students! 

+Community Calendar and Activities 

-Are you interested in your child playing squash?  Or interested in them learning more about squash? Try our FREE Junior Squash Clinic for 7-15 year olds @ the Dartmouth Squash courts on Monday January 12 or Wednesday January 14 from 6-7.30pm. Please if you would like your child/children so that we can plan ahead and have the appropriate number of coaches.

-MacNamee Memorial Trust 30th Annual Professional Conference 
Presents Dr. Patricia Papernow Author and internationally recognized clinical psychologist. She is the author of Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships: What Works and What Doesn’t Meeting the Challenges of “Blended Families”: Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships
Thursday, April 2, 2015 @ Fireside Inn, West Lebanon, NH 
For more information and registration, go to or call 603-448-2759 

-In celebration of National Girls & Women in Sports Day, Dartmouth is excited to host a multi-sport clinic for girls on Saturday, January 31 from 10 a.m.-noon in Leverone Fieldhouse. The event is free, open to all girls in grades K-8, and will give participants the opportunity to learn about and try a variety of sports with instruction from Dartmouth student-athletes and coaches.  Each participant receives a complimentary ticket to the Dartmouth women’s basketball game vs. Yale on Friday, February 6 and the Dartmouth women’s hockey game vs. Yale on Saturday, February 7.    To register for the clinic, visit