Friday Focus‎ > ‎

Friday Focus 121214

posted Dec 12, 2014, 10:42 AM by Michael Lepene   [ updated Dec 12, 2014, 10:46 AM ]


RMFriday Focus 
Friday, December 12 2014

hour of code in rms lobby

+Principal’s Corner

Dear Parents/Guardians, 

This week we are featuring a guest article from our Speech and Language Teacher, Lisa Durstin. In her write-up, Lisa describes how a specific intervention and support for a targeted population of students provides benefits for all students. Periodically, we will highlight aspects of our intervention and support systems for the Friday Focus in order to help our community better understand some of the moving parts involved in our efforts to reach all students. Thank you Lisa!

Michael Lepene 

The Science Says Classroom Amplification Benefits All Students

RMS students are used to seeing teachers wearing microphones to amplify their voice in the classroom. But what was initially used to assist hearing-impaired students in the classroom is now proving to benefit all students. 

Studies document that effective classroom instruction is enhanced by classroom amplification such as the whole room soundfield system we have at RMS. It is estimated that three-quarters of a student’s day is spent listening. Optimally, experts suggest teachers stand within 6’ of every student for maximum speech intelligibility. The farther away from the teacher the student is located, the more decreased the speech recognition is – each time the physical distance is doubled between teacher and student, the audio level is cut in half! In addition to the distance factor, there are other factors impacting optimal speech recognition: the volume and delivery (rate and pitch for example), the signal to noise ratio (the teacher’s voice is the signal and the competing environmental noises are the noise), and the reverberation or the persistence of sound as it bounces off surfaces. In a room at RMS without any students, the dB level is approximately 62dB; it increases by around 10 dB in a room with students who are rustling papers, moving chairs and getting up to leave the room. The recommended ambient noise level for a classroom is 35dB. A typical dB level for someone speaking is approximately 65 dB, but the research says that a speaker needs to be at least 15 dB louder than the ambient noise. So a teacher would need to maintain a voice volume of 80dB, about the loudness of a piano, in all areas of the room for students to have optimal speech recognition. Maintaining a volume at the same loudness of a piano all day long is exhausting.

Enter the whole-room soundfield system, which provides an improved volume as well as a consistent volume to all students in the classroom regardless of where they are sitting. It also overcomes the ambient noise as well as reverberation, and helps the teacher eliminate vocal strain, a chronic problem for teachers. Often, teachers have a second mic for the students to use during whole class discussions or let the students use their mic. Studies show improvements in participation, on-task behavior, focus, class interaction and a decrease in classroom stress. One study additionally notes a 7-10% increase in test scores for normal-hearing students when they are in classrooms utilizing soundfield systems.

At RMS nearly all classroom teachers use the soundfield systems in their rooms, helping to create an optimal listening and learning environment for all students.
Lisa Durstin
RMS Speech

+RMS Quick Poll 

Last week's poll question was a sample question from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) training test. The SBAC is replacing both the ELA and Math NECAP testing typically done in the spring. In preparation for the new test the staff took both the Math and English Language Arts training tests during staff meeting this week. We'll have much more to share in terms of the testing schedule and process when we get closer to March. The full practice tests are available here. We hope you enjoyed the question.

This week we were curious as to whether you had given the "Hour of Code" a try at home. The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. 

Did you participate in the "Hour of Code" or another coding activity this week at home?

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


Wednesday, December 24 SAU 70 December Break Begins.

+RMS Notes and Information

-National Computer Science Week
To celebrate National Computer Science Week, Richmond Middle School students have been participating in the Hour of Code.  Our event has been in the school lobby during lunch for the entire week.  Close to 100 students have stopped by to try some computer programming.  Projects have ranged from programming Angry Birds, creating holiday cards, making games, to lighting holiday trees in Washington, DC. Many of the challenges use “block commands” so students can learn the basic concepts of programming without worrying about command syntax.  More advanced challenges use programming languages such as Javascript and Python. 
We used two main websites for our event.  These resources are also linked to the Richmond Middle School Homepage under Students.

-Concert Season: Thank you to all of our families, guests, and RMS students and staff who attended our concerts over the last two weeks. Attendees were treated to wonderful evenings of music and talent. We know our students appreciate the audience support. 

-Extending School Breaks: Students who plan to be absent before December break: Please contact Mrs. Wybourne to let the school and your teachers know of your absence.

-Kendal ConnectionsOn Thursday, RMS 7th grade students who have been journaling with Kendal residents were able to finally meet in person. Student-Resident pen-pals enjoyed a luncheon that included musical performances, conversation, and a group share of what the experience has meant for each participant. To say that both groups have enjoyed the experience would be an understatement. Thank you to our neighbors at Kendal and to Mr. McCarthy and Mrs. Grondin for coordinating this opportunity.

-RMS Library-Media Specialist Chris Putnam-Pouliot created this fun infographic of Library-Media Center use and activity over the first quarter. Click here to view the visual.

-News from the RMS Music Department!
5 talented music students will be representing RMS at the NH Middle Level Honor's Band Festival this year.
1. Tied for 1st flute: Emily Bregou
2. 1st trombone, 1st Chair: Bauti Gallino
3. 2nd Bassoon:  Alex Olszewski
4. 9th flute: Olivia Lhundup-Zebo
5. 10th flute: Sophie Usherwood
This is a huge honor as there were 276 auditions and 52 schools represented.  Our school took two of the top spots. Congratulations to all. Jonica Leuthauser

-RMS Student Council News:
First Ever RMS Cookie Swap
Monday December 15th 6:30p-8:00p
Bring a dozen of your favorite cookies and leave with a mixed dozen from other folks.
Prizes for best cookies in a variety of categories.
Brownies, bars and other treats are also welcome
$5.00 entry fee.
All proceeds to Toys for Tots Campaign

Our Annual Toys for Tots Campaign is under way.
Students should bring in new unwrapped toys to contribute to the drive. We are proud that RMS has been one of the top donors in the Upper Valley for the past several years.  All students and staff that participate are entered in our raffle.

Bust out those "ugly" sweaters as Friday the 19th is Ugly Sweater Day at RMS. 

-2015 Yearbooks are for sale during lunch next week. If students would like to order a 2015 yearbook, they should plan to place an order in the RMS lobby during lunch on Monday. We are asking students to bring in a $15 check made out to RMS in order to place their order. The $15 price is for a limited time, as the price of Yearbooks will go up to $20 later this winter. If students forget to bring their check Monday, they can see the yearbook advisor, Mrs. Powers, directly to place an order. Any student who is eligible for free or reduced lunch receives a Yearbook for free and does not need to place an additional order.

+Community Calendar and Activities 

-The Hanover Winter Recreation Brochure is online and filled with great activities for all to enjoy. You can view the Brochure at

-HANOVER CHRISTMAS MYSTERY CELEBRATES 98 YEARS. On December 14th, the Christmas Mystery will be performed at Rollins Chapel in Hanover for the 98th time. The Mystery is one of the longest-running pageants in the country.  It was first performed in 1917 at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth College (then known as the White Church). When fire destroyed the church in 1931 the Mystery moved to Rollins Chapel. Christmas Mystery: Sunday December 14, 2014 at 4 and 5 p.m. Free and open to the public More information on Facebook: Christmas Mystery Hanover, NH