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Friday Focus 031116

posted Mar 11, 2016, 3:28 PM by Michael Lepene

Frances C. Richmond Middle School

Friday Focus  03/11/2016   

Principal's Corner

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I came across a list of the "top ten skills middle school students need to thrive" last week in the Washington Post. Full article here. The article was specific to how parents can help and strategies to not get in the way. Even so, the list made me think about our school and mission. Further, I believe that we can best assist the development of these skills and mindsets through working together. The top ten skills identified by the author were:

1. Make good friend choices

2. Work in teams and negotiate conflict

3. Manage a student-teacher mismatch

4. Create organization and homework systems

5. Monitor and take responsibility for grades

6. Learn to self-advocate

7. Self-regulate emotions

8. Cultivate passions and recognize limitations

9. Make responsible, safe and ethical choices

10. Create and innovate

Reflecting on the Richmond Middle School program I think we do work hard to help guide the development of these skills. We also can recognize that as each student takes their individual pathway through the K-12 system there will be challenges, missteps, and opportunities to practice. As educator-parent teams we are especially well-positioned in middle school to support this growth. 

Last week I asked for your help in assessing how we are doing by your responding to our parent survey. I hope that you will be able to take a few minutes and join the 40 or 50 parents and guardians who have already provided us with some terrific feedback. We will absolutely make use of your thoughts and advice as we work on creating and delivering an education that both meets the social-emotional and academic needs of our students. I have posted the survey link and message again below this message and thank you for your time.

Have a great weekend!

Michael Lepene 

"Annual Parent Survey

The Dresden School Board, in conjunction with the staff at the Richmond Middle School, asks for annual feedback from parents and guardians so that we can celebrate our successes and identify opportunities for improvement. Staff will review the results of this survey over the remainder of this school year. We will use the results to help guide our ongoing work and discussions and also to aid in setting our building goals for the 16-17 school year.

The survey questions and format were created using a combination of previous survey questions, staff and parent topics, resources from Harvard School of Education, and in consultation with a community member with expertise in survey development and evaluation. Some questions and topics repeat year to year while others are more specific to a goal or shorter-term effort. We realize some questions are easier to answer and others feel a little more open or difficult to respond to. We appreciate your efforts and time as you work through the survey and we will consider each response.

The survey can be found via the web at: or you may request a paper copy from the RMS office. The survey will remain open until Friday, March 18, 2016."

All School Events and Calendar

Tonight: RMS Dance, RMS, 7-9p. $5. Guidelines here.

Monday, March 14: No School, Teacher Inservice. 

Monday, March 21: Q4 Elective Arena Scheduling.

Wednesday, March 23, 6-730p, RMS - 7th Grade Civil War Night.

RMS Notes and Information

-7th Grade Families: Please mark your calendars for Wednesday, March 23, from6:00 - 7:30 p.m., when 7th grade historians will present their Civil War research and projects at our second annual Civil War Night. The evening will include informative exhibits and entertaining performances on such topics as Civil War spies and women impersonators, Civil War medicine, and technological innovations. Visit the mess tents and sample some hardtack and other authentic victuals.  We hope to see you there.

-RMS Pi Day Tuesday: The RMS Pi Day Celebration will be on March 15th. Students and staff are invited to wear circle or pi themed clothes and be ready to celebrate at snack (pie available from the caf!) and do pi-related activities at lunch. Students can find their math teacher to recite digits throughout the morning and the winner at the end of lunch will win a whoopie pie. Parents are also invited to come join in the pi-related lunch activities in the lobby. Go Pi!

-(Repost) Richmond Middle School Music Department 3/1/16

 Dear Parents/Guardians of RMS Musicians,

 Our March concerts are coming up! All concerts start at 5:30 PM.

+Thursday, March 24: All concert bands, jazz band and a select orchestra group.

+Tuesday, March 29: 7th grade girls chorus and 7/8 grade boys chorus.

+Thursday, March 31: 6th grade chorus and 8th grade girls chorus.

Please make sure that your child’s schedule is clear so they can participate in their concert (s).  All students are asked to arrive at the school no later than 5:00 to warm up/tune up and prepare themselves for the concert.  We also want to make sure you are aware of the dress code for this particular concert series.  All musicians are required to wear black on the bottom and any solid color on the top.  No logos on shirts please. As a department we have also agreed that all shoulders must be covered and boots such as Ugg boots are not acceptable as dress shoes for such an occasion.

We look forward to sharing these concerts with you.  Thank you so much for supporting music at RMS.

Sincerely, Joshua Hall Jonica Leuthauser Hannah Rommer

-(Repost) RMS Inservice Day

Monday, March 14th will be our second inservice day of the 15-16 school year. This time around we are going to try something a little different. As a staff we have been working on the topic of "Social Responsibility" during some of our staff and team meetings. Staff have been engaged in some professional development under this broad topic and several sub-committees have started to pursue initiatives in student engagement and leadership, community service, master schedule, and supporting a positive school culture. While we recognize that most of this work traditionally resides with the adults in the building we also believe in the power and value of involving our students in these efforts. We have invited any interested students to join us and learn alongside us on Mondaymorning with the hope that they will add their ideas, feedback, and questions to the discussions. You can read the invitation we sent students below:

Message Sent to Students Last Week:

"Come join the RMS staff on the teacher inservice day Monday March 14th to participate in workshops designed to make RMS a stronger, more socially responsible community.  Your voice is key to shaping your experiences, in and out of the classroom, at RMS.  Bring a friend for breakfast from 8-8:30am, and then join a discussion with a Vermont Principal about his experiences working with students on incorporating student voice in school leadership, service learning, social justice, and personal learning plans from 8:30-9:30. After the presentation, we will meet in smaller groups from 9:40-11:20 to discuss ideas about ways we can continue to develop some of these practices at RMS. Students are welcome to join for just the presentation or for both the presentation and the breakout conversations. If you are interested in participating, please email or see Mr. Lepene or Ms. Yates"

If you have the opportunity to encourage your child to spend a few hours with us on a non-school day we would appreciate it. We promise a good breakfast and an authentic opportunity to help shape the growth of our school.

RMS Technology Corner
-News from RMS Technology Coordinator Marty Warren.

It's been a busy week in technology at RMS this week.  Here are some highlights...
In 7th grade science with Ms. Wallis, students are using technology to simulate climate negotiations.  In each class, students are divided into teams representing the United States, China, the European Union, developing countries, and developed countries.  Teams go through several rounds of negotiations and after each round, data is put into a program called C-Roads which displays graphs predicting the effect of carbon emissions on the earth's temperature, sea level and ph level through the year 2100.  As a group and "world community", students aim for targets in these areas, but also have to represent the interests of their respective countries during negotiations.

In other tech news, we're preparing for the second year of SBAC testing at RMS.  All staff are working towards becoming certified to administer the test which will happen after April break at RMS.  In the meantime, students and staff will do some practice tests in both math and language arts to get used to SBAC test procedures and tools before the actual test.

During staff meeting this week we dedicated some time to share a few features of Schoology, our new learning management system.  Staff members shared how they use features like linking courses, online discussions, media albums, posting updates and using Schoology for quizzes and tests.  Hopefully we can continue learning from each other and continue to develop our proficiency with this tool.

Community Calendar and Activities
-Hanover Parks and Recreation: Win a $50 Gift Certificate to HPR Programs! HPR is conducting a community wide recreational needs assessment and we want your feedback.  Take our 10 minute survey and let us know what you value in recreation and what you would like to see in the future.  Respond by March 18th to be eligible for one of two $50 raffle prizes!

-Dartmouth Child Psychiatry will be offering several therapeutic and supportive groups for parents and kids ages 8-12 this spring. Please see the flyer for more details.

-Friends of Hanover FootballAnnouncement: If your child has an interest in playing football in the future or currently plays and is looking for a fun way to spend a Saturdayhere is free opportunity to learn and play some football by some former Patriots Players.  This is a Free Non-Contact Football Clinic sponsored by New England Patriots Alumni Club. For more information and to register:

-Tae Kwon Do classes at the Hanover Community Center starting March 15. Classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursdays at 5:30 for children first grade and up. Visitors are welcome to observe anytime. Cost is $40 per month. For more information contact or

-Young Hacks Academy is back at RMS this summer. Click for more information.

PE students enjoy the early spring with some capture the flag this week. (Photo Atkinson)

7th Grade students heard about the battle of Gettysburg and the importance of Vermonters from historian Howard Coffin this week. (Photo Lepene)




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