Emerson Eagle A monthly publication of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High PTA September 2011 Welcome Back From Principal Cummings Welcome back to a new school year and new PTA newsletter! I feel that we are off to a very good start and hope that all families have adjusted to the school routine. Each month I will share with you reflections and highlights on our various activities. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. Reflections and Highlights Back to School Night Thanks to everyone who came to Back to School Night. We felt it was very successful. I made it all the classrooms (some twice) and was very pleased to see so many parents participating. It is my hope you now have a baseline understanding of your child’s teachers, program and curriculum for the year. Please contact your child’s teacher if you have individual questions. Wednesday Collaboration This year we are continuing to focus on developing a school-wide grading and late work policy in accordance with the district homework policy. Other key issues for staff discussion are student engagement and parent communication and developing “habits of mind” in our students which will allow them to think critically about all they do. ber 8th, at Back to School Night. Our new Site Council parent is Mark Rowan. He joins our other parents Larry McCoy and Gerri Brown. We had our first Site Council meeting on September 9th and are ready to go! We meet monthly on the first Friday from 9:00 to 10:30. ELAC This is our English Language Advisory Committee and we will have our first meeting on October 10th. ELAC is a sounding board for our English Learner population and works both with teachers and administration to support our EL students. If you are interested in participating, please contact me or our secretary, Nancy Cardinal, at (530) 757-5430. We will have bilingual (Spanish) support at these meetings. Our first meeting will be a Welcome Potluck and families are welcome to bring the kids! That’s all for this edition! Until next month, Alicia Cummings Principal Student Study Space (S3) It’s OPEN! S3 is meeting in the library after school Monday through Thursdays. This is a place for struggling students to get extra help or for anyone to come and have a quiet place to complete homework. Spanish Immersion A “Welcome Back” potluck is scheduled for September 26th from 6:30 to 7:30 pm for all Immersion families. We hope you will come and join us (with your kids) for this informal social time. I will be taking contact information for those interested in the Spanish Immersion Parent Advisory Committee meetings. The first one is November 14th—from 6:30 to 7:30 in the Emerson Library. Site Council We had our parent elections on Septem- Visit our new Emerson website at http://emersonjhs.chil-es.org Student Activities Costa Rica Trip Ever wanted to visit a tropical rainforest or kayak next to waterfalls? This summer, Mrs. Amsler is planning a student/ parent trip to Costa Rica to do just that plus much more during a 9-day, 8-night trek throughout the country. Zipline through the rainforest and plant a tree, visit an active volcano, lay on the sandy beaches. See Mrs. Amsler in room A-7, pick up an informational brochure outside her door, or visit the Educational Tours website at www.emersongeography. com and click on the Costa Rica Trip link. There will also be an informational meeting on Wednesday, September 28 at 7 p.m. in room A-7 as well. Don’t miss this chance of a lifetime to visit Central America! Next Dance is December 9 Thanks to all the parents and staff who chaperoned the back to school dance! Our next dance is December 9 from 7:30–10 p.m. We will need parent chaperones. Please contact Anna Amsler if interested at [email protected] Thank you! Costa Rica: A Touch of the Tropics 9 or 10 Days PTA President: Ways to Connect We invite all Emerson/DaVinci parents to join us for a “coffee morning” with our principals Mrs. Cummings (Emerson) and Mr. Boonchouy (DaVinci) on Monday, September 26 from 8:30–9:30 a.m. in the teacher’s lounge. We look forward to seeing you all. Have you checked out Emerson’s new website yet? Thanks to Amanda Sharpe, Emerson’s Teacher Librarian, we have a brand-new website. The new address is http://emersonjhs.chil-es.org. Please bookmark the site and visit often for updates. One of the best ways to learn We still have two critical activity chairs to fill: eScrip coordinator and director of ad sales for the student/family directory. We sell ads in this printed directory as a fundraiser. These are very important jobs, so please email PTA volunteer coordinator Lynn Arner at [email protected] if you can help. —Kevin Smith, PTA President Fundraising Events and Updates Bring Your Box Tops in by September 28th Do you want to earn money for your school and win a prize for your homeroom? Bring us your box tops! There are now envelopes in each classroom so students can drop them in there or in the front office. Thanks for your support in saving them for our school—every little bit helps! The top three homerooms with the most box tops turned in by September 28th will win class prizes! Join us for a Pancake Breakfast on October 15 Our pancake breakfast and kids activities fundraiser will benefit student activities. Come to Emerson on Saturday, October 15, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. in the indoor commons. Come enjoy the pancakes and fun! 2 what’s going on at Emerson is to attend PTA meetings. The PTA meets the first Thursday of the month at the Emerson Library. The Executive Board meets at 6:30 and our general membership meeting is at 7:30. Join us and give us your input! Cookie Dough Deliveries Cookie dough will be delivered to the school at the end of September and distributed after school in the library. Look for the announcement in the daily bulletin that will detail the exact date. Thank you for your orders! Emerson Logo Wear Want some fabulous new clothing and gear? We’ve got clothing and tote bags for sale! Make sure to get your order in to the office by September 30 for your 2011/2012 logo wear. Our new cute tote bags with the Emerson logo are for sale for $10. If you have any questions or are interested in an order form, please contact Kristen Hill at [email protected] com. Go Eagles! News from the Vice Principal! Thanks for reading our Emerson newsletter! When your kids leave elementary school, the communication between school and home changes format and families often feel that they are “out-of-the-loop.” At Emerson, we try to put all new information in the daily bulletin, send it home on the PTA list serv, and/or include it in the monthly PTA newsletter. If you are reading this, you are well on your way to keeping in touch with what is going on at Emerson. Please check in with your friends to remind them to scan the bulletin daily and to take a moment to read our monthly newsletter. These are our first lines of communication. Bike care reminders Emerson has two bike storage areas. One is at the back side of our campus on Humboldt and is the larger bike cage area. The other bike storage area is closer to the blue picnic table area and is much closer to supervision and farther away from public access. Both are available to all students for their daily bike storage. Our bike cages are not supervised after 4:15 p.m. People from the greater community have access to our exterior campus after school hours and the bike cages can be a target. U-type locks are far more difficult to break through than chain locks so for students staying on into the later hours, this may be a better choice of locks. Students staying on for drama rehearsals, sports practices, or tutoring are encouraged to bring their bikes closer onto the campus—the bike cages nearer to our picnic tables are a good area! Our dress code is still an issue, particularly for the female students. Our dress code is specific to the issue of tops, dresses, etc. showing cleavage. Short shorts are in fashion right now, but the clothing must still be school appropriate. Families, please assist your child in differentiating between school-appropriate clothes and those your child may choose to wear after school or on weekends. Many students have been sent to the office for dress code violations and they have been required to change. First dance was a success! Great turnout!! Wonderful number of 7th graders attending! Thank you to all parents and staff who gave their Friday night time and energy to the dance. No problems re: drinking, drugs, student conflicts. All in all, a great success thanks to all of the WEB students and faculty advisors! Daily planners—remember to check your student’s planner AND/OR reinforce planner DAILY use. This is an incredibly strong habit for all students to have in place. PTA Leadership 2011–2012 Executive Board President Kevin Smith Vice Presidents Pam Pacelli and Ahna Heller Behaviors around campus have been very good since the start-up of school in August. Referrals to the office from classes and around campus have been minimal! Treasurer Luke Watkins Campus litter has dramatically improved! Most of our Emerson staff have commented on this wonderful improvement…they cite the campus clean-up and awareness programs run by Ms. Amsler, World Geography and Student Activities teacher, and the 7th grade cluster program, “Cluster News” run by Michael Howell, as being at the core of a cleaner campus! Thanks to all, students and staff!! Auditor Open Secretary Kathy Olmsted Parliamentarian Shoshana Zatz Newsletter Editor Eva O’Brien Logowear Kristen Hill Web Manager Larry McCoy Listserv Administrator Open Parent Education Diana Zaragoza Directory Open Historian Diana Hoffman Volunteer Coordinator Lynn Arner Committee Chairs Green Committee eScrip Open Hospitality Melody Geodde-Matthews Rena Nayyar and Anna Amsler Membership Kristen Hill 3 Counselor’s Corner Your child’s first report card of the school year will be mailed home very soon and this is an important time to take a close look with your child at how they are doing. The progress report is intended to give your student feedback on how the first five weeks of school have gone and should inspire a home conversation about each class. This is an important time for families to revisit school goals and in class and after school routines. It’s important for students to recognize what are the numerous factors that are supporting them in their day and also what are the possible barriers. Have your child think about the norms of the classroom. Are they participating in class? Have they connected with the teacher? If a student is receiving a grade that they are concerned about they should take the grade apart, seek out the teacher for more information and schedule an after-school meeting. Your child’s counselor can help facilitate this conversation. We want to build a skill set in your children that does not only satisfy the short term, but instills a lifelong process of learning and problem solving. If your student is in need of tutoring support, they could always visit “Student Study Space.” This after-school program meets in the library, and is facilitated by Tina Otterson ([email protected]), one of our remarkable paraeducators. It runs Monday–Thursday from 3:30– 4:30 p.m. If your child is struggling in Math, they could drop into math tutoring Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30–4:30 p.m. The location rotates depending on which math teacher is hosting. Calendars of locations are posted in the math classes and available in the main office. This year we also have a new club offered by our UC Davis AVID tutors. The program is T.E.A.M (Together Emerson Aggie Mentors). Information about meeting days and times will be announced shortly in the bulletin. This is an opportunity for our students to connect with college students and give an early introduction and advice on what is required to get to college and be a successful student. Thank you for taking the time to read the newsletter and being an informed Junior High parent! Please know that the Emerson/ DaVinci counseling staff is here to support you and your child during their junior high years. Get in touch if you need any information or you have questions about resources and services. Our Counselors are: Michael Leahy, 7th and 8th Grade Emerson Counselor; Cara Leppington, 8th and 9th Grade DaVinci Counselor; and Stephanie McGrath, 7th Grade DaVinci and 9th Grade Emerson Counselor Academic Updates We will be featuring reports from the different academic departments throughout the year. Social Studies Our 8th grade historians are finishing up a unit on the geography of the USA. As September turns to October, students will remember back to 7th grade about the reasons for European exploration and settlement. That will transition us into looking at life in the 13 English Colonies. Beyond that we will look at Colonial unrest and America’s Revolution. Along the way we will continue to pay close attention to the world around us through our weekly current events. In order to make a “better world,” stu- 4 dents can also be looking for ways in which they can use their time and talents to help their neighborhood, Emerson, and Davis community as a whole. 9th Grade Geography students have just wrapped up the first unit reviewing and introducing basic geographic concepts and themes. Our next unit focuses on climate and vegetation and how human settlement and economies are affected specifically in North America. Science—Our Garden Needs You! Emerson science teachers will be applying some science concepts in the garden this year. We would love to have help getting the garden ready and welcome volunteers. Please contact Rena Nayyar at [email protected] djusd.k12.ca.us (first letters are r n NOT m) or Michael Howell at [email protected] if you are interested. Thank you.