July 28, 2014

Good afternoon to returning and new parents of LMS students.  I hope you and your families have had a great summer.

I have been collecting items to share with you over the past month.  Some information will be general in nature, while other items will be grade level-specific.  I will try to arrange the information below so that it will be as easy as possible to navigate.

For you parents/students who are new to our building this year, I attempt to send an update out at the conclusion of each week.  My messages are meant to summarize how the week has gone, highlight specific items of interest, and look ahead in terms of upcoming calendar events and schedules.  It is my intent to keep these updates as brief as possible, while still sharing information I think you will need. 

If you have any questions, or if you determine that I have left out a critical piece of information, please let me know.  Should you and I determine that something has been omitted, I will send out supplemental messages as needed.  

CONGRATULATIONS and THANKS

I would like to publicly thank, and recognize, the contributions of our office and custodial staff members who have worked during the summer to close out the preceding school year and prepare for 2014-2015:
Nancy Edwards, Principal Secretary
Peggy Breidenback, Registrar
Carol Stephens, Scheduling/Counseling Secretary
Milan Rakic, Lead Custodian
JB Tate, Custodian
Steve Bell, Custodian

I also could not function without the support of our administrative team:
Dr. Tiffany Taylor-Johnson, Associate Principal (Grade 7)
Scott Lackey, Assistant Principal (Grade 6)
Sarah Schwartz, Administrative Intern (Grade 8)

As I have said on numerous occasions in the past, I am blessed to be associated with, and surrounded by, outstanding colleagues.

CALENDAR ITEMS

Packet Pickup (see below for additional information)
Monday, August 4
     7 am to 12 noon
Tuesday, August 5
     12 noon to 5 pm

District-wide Opening Staff Meeting
Thursday, August 7; 8 am to 11 am (offices will be closed)

LMS Opening Staff Meeting
Friday, August 8; 7:30 am to 11 am (offices will be closed until around 9 am)

Community Night
Friday, August 8; 4 pm to 7 pm (see below for more information)

New 7th and 8th Grade Student Orientation
Tuesday, August 12; 8:30 am to 10 am
(All 6th Grade Students will have orientation on the first day of school.)

School Begins
Wednesday, August 13

Parent Coffee (all grades)
Friday, August 15; 8:30 am to 9:30 am; LMS Cafeteria

Meet The Teachers Night
Wednesday, August 20; 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm (more information below)

After School Activities begin
Tuesday, August 26 (more information to follow)

School Picture Day
Wednesday, August 27 (more information to follow)

6th Grade Camp Parent meeting
Wednesday, August 27; 7 pm to 8 pm

CORRECTION/ADDITION(S)

NEW ITEMS

8TH GRADE SPECIFIC INFORMATION

Packet Pickup/8th Grade Tdap Immunization
If you have a student who is entering 8th Grade this fall, a Tdap vaccination is required.  It is a tetanus booster shot with pertussis (for whooping cough).  Most children have had this vaccine somewhere around their 11th or 12th birthday.  The nurse will need an updated vaccination record to verify that your student has had this immunization prior to the release of your child’s registration packet.  According to State law, your child may not begin the school year until we have received the appropriate documentation.  If you need to check to see if your child has a current record on file, you may contact the LMS Office at 314-993-3900.  If we do not have a record on file, you may have your child’s doctor fax a current record to LMS at 314-997-8736 or it can be dropped off at our Office prior to packet pick on August 4 and 5.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Packet Pickup
As indicated above, student packets (including schedules) will be available at LMS for pick up on August 4 (7 am to 12 noon) and August 5 (12 noon to 5 pm).  Student packets cannot be given to students without a parent/guardian present.  Packets will also be available through our Office beginning Wednesday, August 6 through Tuesday, August 12.  You may also retrieve your student’s packet on Community Night.

Contact Information
It is important for the middle school to have the correct contact information, address, and phone numbers for your child in case of an emergency.  Address changes must be done by contacting our registrar and providing appropriate documentation.  Please take a few minutes to make sure your child’s contact information is correct by logging on to the Parent Portal.  If you have not signed up to access the Parent Portal, please stop by the middle school with a picture ID and see our registrar, Ms. Breidenbach.  You can also update your information by contacting our registrar, Ms. Breidenbach at 983-5511.

Lunch Pricing
Our district uses Chartwells School Dining Services for our school meals program.  Information regarding our meal program, as well as a menu for the month of August, will be available on packet pick up days.  Also included in this information will be forms for our Free/Reduced meal program for qualifying families. 
Meals prices for the coming year are as follows for LMS students:
Breakfast - $1.55, ($0.30 for Reduced price)
Lunch - $2.65, ($0.40 for Reduced price)
Milk - $0.55
Chartwells uses Ladue’s meal accounting system to record student payments and purchases throughout the school year.  A few reminders:
·      Establish your student’s meal account before the school year begins.
·      Checks should be made payable to the Ladue Schools Foodservice, with the student’s name and amount enclosed in an envelope.
·      Pre-payments can also be made through myschoolbucks.com.  Please note that it takes 24 to 48 hours for these payments to show on the student account.
·      Pre-payment deposits are recommended weekly or monthly to avoid negative student account balances.
Balances from the previous school year are carried forward to the new school year, and from school to school.  For balance information, you may call the LMS Office or check myschoolbucks.com.

Community Night
Community Night, held on the Friday evening before the beginning of school, is an opportunity for students and parents to gather information, put items in their lockers (see below) and locate their classrooms.  Information from the LMS Parent Association, Youth Baseball program, and our yearly fundraiser program will also be available.  BBQ provided by the LMS Dads Club will be in the Cafeteria, beginning at/around 5 pm.  Ladue Wear (PE clothing, etc.) will also be available for purchase.
Since parking on our campus is very limited, we ask that parents and students arrive that evening in shifts, based upon grade level:
·      6th Grade, 4 pm to 5 pm
·      7th Grade, 5 pm to 6 pm
·      8th Grade, 6 pm to 7 pm
Office staff will be present in our Library for information and distribution/receipt of paperwork and forms.  Please be aware that teachers will not be present that evening.

Community Night/Student Lockers
Each LMS student is assigned a locker in their team/grade level areas, for secure storage of their supplies and personal items during the school day.  The location of your child’s locker will be included in materials available on Packet Pickup days.  LMS does not provide locks for student lockers.  As such, it is highly recommended that students and parents delivering materials to lockers during Community Night purchase/secure a locker prior to that evening.  Personnel will be on hand that night to record students’ lock combinations into our records (in the event that the student forgets their combination or if we need to access the locker without breaking the lock).  Please be aware that a specific locker has been assigned to each student by now – changing locker locations on Community Night is not possible.  Changes in locker locations once the school year begins will need to be approved by your child’s grade-level counselor or administrator.  I have included two “Locker Zone” maps to the Blackboard Connect parent email to help in locating your child’s locker on the evening of August 8.

Phone Routing System
We will be implementing a phone routing system here soon.  Although it is great to be answered by a real person, this comes as a result of the numerous calls we receive on our main line during a normal school day.  We have worked to keep the number of options down to a minimum, to better meet your needs and respect your time.  Once implemented, calls to the 993-3900 number will offer the following options:
·      Clinic
·      Attendance
·      Assistant Principals’ Office
·      Counselors
·      Registrar
·      All Others
If the extension your are attempting to reach is busy, my understanding is that your call will be re-routed to our main Reception desk.  Should this line be busy, it will go directly to our Receptionist’s voicemail.

School Times
Our school day begins with 1st period at 8:15 am.  Our school day ends with the conclusion of 8th period at 3:05 pm. Students arriving by car in the morning can access our Lobby by 7:30 am (prior to that time, we do not have staff on duty for supervision).  Students arriving on campus between 7:30 am and 7:50 am will be supervised in the Lobby.  After 7:50 am, students will be directed to the following areas, by grade level, before dismissal to the lockers: 
·      6th Grade – Cafeteria
·      7th Grade – Gymnasium, Boys side
·      8th Grade – Gymnasium, Girls side
Staff will be assigned to each area for supervision.  More information regarding traffic practices is below.

Traffic/AM and PM
Since most of you are returning parents, I have save this for last.  Nothing much in terms of procedure has changed over the last two years.
If you are a parent new to our building, or if it has been several years since you have had a student at LMS, you might wish to review the following.  Please bear with me, since this is easier to explain in person than to type out.  I have attached maps to the Blackboard Connect parent email to help make this clearer.
Morning Traffic
We will have personnel outside to monitor and direct traffic each morning by 7:40 am at the latest.  I usually am located at the Clayton Road entrance, while a second staff member will be located at the back entrance to our Circle Drive.
·      Prior to the arrival of buses at around 7:50 am, all students transported by car can proceed to the back entrance to the Circle Drive, enter the Circle Drive, and enter our building through our Main Entrance.  After dropping off students, cars can then exit the Circle Drive onto Conway Road.
·      Once buses begin to arrive, cars entering campus will be re-routed to our back Blacktop.  Cars should proceed down the Maintenance Drive, turn left, and approach our building through the Blacktop.  Students can exit cars at the rear door to the Gymnasium and enter there, under the supervision of a staff member.  Depending on time, students will then be directed to their grade level areas listed above or to their lockers to prepare for 1st period.
·      After dropping off students, cars will then exit our campus onto Clayton Road (if buses are still in the Circle Drive).  We ask that each exiting car PLEASE turn left onto Clayton Road to expedite traffic flow.  Cars waiting to turn left onto Clayton impede traffic exiting our campus a great deal.
·      Once all buses have arrived and dropped riders off, cars can then return to drop off and exit through the Circle Drive (the staff member and I remain outside on traffic duty until 8:05 am).
·      In order to avoid the bulk of our traffic issues each morning, it is suggested that students arrive by car between 7:30 and 7:50 am.
·      We ask that you not drop off your child in the bank parking lot (causing traffic stoppages as students must cross Conway Road) and definitely not have students exit cars while on Conway Road.
Afternoon Traffic
Buses begin lining up in our Circle Drive around 2:50 pm.  This blocks the Circle Drive from car access and exiting onto Conway Road.  At the 3:05 pm dismissal, bus riders are released from the building first, while car riders are held in the Lobby until buses exit the campus at around 3:15 pm (we get faster after the first few weeks).
·      Cars entering our campus are directed to proceed through the Blacktop at the rear of the building.
·      Cars then line up in the Maintenance Drive and wait for the release of buses.
·      Once buses have cleared the Circle Drive, cars can then proceed to the front of the building to pick up students.
·      If you will be consistently picking up your student by car in the afternoon, I would suggest that you not arrive until between 3:15 pm and 3:30 pm.
·      If you have a need to pick up your student prior to the 3:05 pm dismissal, please park in our parking lot (rather than the Circle Drive) anytime after 2:45 to 2:50 pm to avoid being blocked by arriving buses.

UPDATED ITEMS

REPEAT ITEMS

LMSPA eBlasts
If you are not currently receiving LMSPA email news blasts but would like to, please click on the following link to subscribe:

Board Briefs
Information regarding Ladue Board of Education meetings and work sessions can be found on boardbriefs.blogspot.com


I look forward to working with you, your children and our staff to make this an outstanding school year.  I will send out a supplemental message to parents of 6th graders who may be new to our building within the next few days.

Best wishes on the remaining days of summer break.

As always, thank you.


Greg

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