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Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 24, 2014


Good afternoon.  I hope your weekend has gone well, and that you have been able to stay cool over the last few days.  This would have gone out yesterday, but we got tied up with a birthday celebration during the day and had family over last night.

I would like to bring up two items at the beginning of this message, rather than list them down below in the body of the email.

Item 1
It came to my attention on Friday, as I was leaving for home, that several of our students were crossing Clayton Road (some of whom were outside marked crossing zones).  Please be aware that we have an ABBCO employee (contracted by the district) that serves as a crossing guard (with stop sign and vest) on Clayton Road, near Sportman’s Park, on a daily basis in the afternoons.  A Ladue PD officer is normally located at the intersection of Clayton and Conway Roads at dismissal to help release buses and cover that crosswalk for those students who live to the south of our campus.  The officer was not present on Friday afternoon. 
I contacted not only our Admin Center on the way home, but was also contacted by our Director of Maintenance.  It is my understanding that Ladue PD has an officer present in the afternoons when they are not involved in other emergency calls.  We cannot anticipate when this may occur.  Please be assured that the topic of the crosswalk and intersection at Clayton and Conway in the afternoons will be a topic of conversation and study this week.  We will also increase our communication to students to make sure they are aware of the daily crossing supervision at/near Sportman’s Park, on Clayton Road.

Item 2
Prior to the beginning of school, Leah Scheidt (LMS Drama teacher) approached Dr. Taylor-Johnson and me with an idea for our fall production.  Leah shared that the students she worked with last year, who are returning, were exceptionally talented for middle school students and she wished to challenge them with something not ordinarily attempted by our students.
Leah proposed that we produce the play “And a Child Shall Lead”, a drama written for middle level students based upon true stories and poems of children who were interred at the Terezin Nazi concentration camp, near Prague, during World War 2.  To be honest, I have struggled with this.  On one hand, light-hearted productions 1) are greatly entertaining and 2) appeal to our audiences (mainly composed of family members).  On the other hand, if we truly wish to challenge our students, help them make connections to “real world” events and multi-cultural and multi-ethnic issues, then an undertaking of this kind should be considered.
Last week, I was able to read the script of this play, almost in its entirety (the last ten pages or so were not available through the special preview process – copyright provisions and we have not purchased scripts as yet).  I have little knowledge of the fine arts, being an old Science and mathematics teacher.  With that in mind, I can honestly share that I was deeply, deeply moved by the stories of these poor children, who exhibited more courage and strength than I can ever imagine in myself.  I proceeded to walk to Leah’s classroom, suggested a few modifications that she had already considered, and let her know that I approved of her selection.
Should you wish to look at a preview of “And a Child Shall Lead”, particularly if you have a student interested in auditioning for or working on this production, please use the following link:  http://www.playscripts.com/play/1242
 
CONGRATULATIONS and THANKS

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend our Meet The Teacher Night on Wednesday, August 20.

Thank you to Scott Lackey, 6th Grade Assistant Principal for coordinating the event and to all the staff members who helped make it happen.  Particular thanks go out to our LMS Custodians for the set up in the Gym.

CALENDAR ITEMS

Tuesday, 8/26
After School Activities begin (Tuesdays and Thursdays)
Wednesday, 8/27
School Picture Day
6th Grade Camp Parent meeting, 7 – 8 pm (see below)

Monday, 9/1
Labor Day: NO SCHOOL
Tuesday, 9/2
SRI Reading assessments; Grades 7 and 8
Wednesday, 9/3
SRI Reading assessments; Grade 6

Monday, 9/8
Discovery Education (DE) assessments; through Thursday, 9/11
     Block Day schedules
Friday, 9/12
Early Release day; 12:40 pm

Monday, 9/15
6th Grade Camp Session 1; through Wednesday, 9/17
Wednesday, 9/17
6th Grade Camp Session 2; through Friday, 9/19

Wednesday, 9/24
Fundraiser Kickoff assemblies; Periods 1, 2, 3
Friday, 9/26
Fundraiser Postcard turn in; during Lunch periods

Thursday, 10/2
Fundraiser Turn In day 1; during Lunch periods
7th Grade Party; 3:10 – 4:10 pm
Friday, 10/3
Ram Award Pizza day; during Lunch periods

CORRECTION/ADDITION(S)

NEW ITEMS

After School Activities/Quarter 1
We offer after school activities each quarter, based upon student interest and staff availability.  These occur on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, from dismissal until 4:10 pm.  Quarter 1 activities will begin this Tuesday.  I will make it a priority to communicate activity choices through our website and through a corresponding email on Monday/tomorrow.  My apologies for getting this information out later than anticipated.

Access to Google Drive documents/forms
Please be aware that in order to access documents or forms that teachers have posted via Google Drive, you must be logged into your child’s ladueschools.net account.  Mr. Kindt, our LMS Technology Coordinator, has posted a “how to” link on the LMS website that should help:
http://kkindt-ladueschools.blogspot.com/p/parent-help.html

Vision Screening Volunteer Request
If any parent is a nurse and would like to volunteer to assist with our vision screening on Monday, October 27, please contact Ann Body at annbody@ladueschools.net or leave a message in the clinic at 983-5516.  

Girls Scouts
7th grade girls: there is a Girl Scout troop for you.  Parents and all interested girls are welcome to come to an organizational meeting on Wednesday, August 27th, after school in the LMS library. Our meetings are once per month, on the first Wednesday, from 3:15 to 5pm.  If there are any questions, please contact Sarah Martin via email at goodmartin2u@sbcglobal.net.

Lunches/Going Outside
We try to provide students the choice of going outside at the back of our building during lunches.  This is usually the last ten minutes or so of the lunch period.  Please know that we monitor this in terms of weather (extreme heat and extreme cold) and reinforce that this is based upon choice – students may remain in the Cafeteria until the conclusion of the lunch period.

MTN Survey
If you have a moment, we could use your feedback on Meet The Teacher Night.  There is a very brief survey available for you input at:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/lmsmtn2014

UPDATED ITEMS

Fall Parent Conferences
Parent Conferences are scheduled for Wednesday, October 22 (3:50 to 7:30 pm) and Thursday, October 23 (1:20 to 6:40 pm). 
Sign ups are now available online at:
http://www.myconferencetime.com/laduems
You may also the website by going to the LMS webpage using the following link:
Prior to completing your sign up, please carefully review the instructions that are provided.  Do not delay in signing up as appointment slots fill up very quickly.

REPEAT ITEMS

GENERAL INFORMATION

6th Grade Camp Information
Information about 6th grade camp should have arrived to you.  Paperwork can be turned in to your child's 8th period teacher anytime, but no later than August 29.  Additional camp information and copies of what is sent home today can also be found on the middle school website at:
http://www.ladue.k12.mo.us/lms/ExtraStuff/6thGradeCamp.html

Spring Break Opportunity
Visit Costa Rica during Spring Break! There will be an informational meeting for 8th grade Spanish students and parents interested in going to Costa Rica during Spring Break on Thursday, August 28 at 6pm in the library. This information is the same that was given during the informational meeting last year. Parents are invited to accompany their children, but it is not required. The deadline for signing up is October 1 (Please note, last week's email said November 1 in error). If you have any questions or cannot attend, please email Sarah Schwartz (8th grade AP) at saschwartz@ladueschools.net or call 983-5529.

8th Grade Sports
Is your 8th grader interested in running cross country (co-ed) or playing volleyball (girls) this fall? 8th grade sports are starting soon. Next week, students will have the opportunity to sign up for fall sports during lunch. The sports program is a free, no cut, all play program the focuses on positive sportsmanship and character development. Practices are Tuesdays and Thursdays after school from 3:10-4:10. There is a late bus available after practice. The first practice is Tuesday, September 2. In order to participate, students must turn in required forms and have a physical on file dated on or after February 1. The forms can be found here: http://teachersites.ladue.k12.mo.us/lms/jtheodosiou/8th_Grade_Sports/Welcome.html Paper copies are available in the office. Forms can be turned in to the office or Coach Theodosiou. If you have questions, please email Sarah Schwartz (saschwartz@ladueschools.net) or Coach Theodosiou (jtheodosiou@ladueschools.net).

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.

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 hope you and your families have a great afternoon and evening.

My best,


Greg

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Meet The Teacher Night

Good afternoon.  I hope your days have gone well.

I wanted to put out a reminder regarding Meet The Teacher Night and provide some informational items regarding this that may help.  You can find a general schedule on our LMS webpage and I believe 6th graders will be bringing home specific schedules for you parents this afternoon.

We here at LMS have a "good" problem with evening parent events - the turnout is usually spectacular, but we have limited parking space.  Because of that, I have scheduled a shuttle bus to run from Ladue Chapel (right up the hill on Clayton Road) to LMS and back, beginning at 6 pm and ending at 9 pm.  You can park in the front lot, the back lot, or in the Circle Drive if you arrive early enough.  If you park in the Circle Drive, please do not block the handicapped accessible cutouts in our sidewalk - these are painted blue and marked with cones.  Copies of student schedules should be available at both the main entrance and the back entrance to the Gym (nearest the Circle Drive).

Our evening will being with an Opening Meeting in the Gym beginning at 6:30 pm.  This will be as brief as possible.  Parents will then be released from the Gym, by grade level, to begin their tour through their child's schedule.  Each session in a class period will last seven (7) minutes.  Teachers will provide course expectations and basic information regarding their classes.  Obviously, seven minutes is not enough time to conduct parent conferences - should you have a need to meet with a teacher regarding your child, I strongly suggest you make arrangements to meet with them during the school day, if possible.  Each teacher has an individual Plan period that can be used for such purposes.  They are also available by phone or email.  Our evening will close at 8:30 pm.  Please help me get teachers out of here on time and on their way home to rest up for the next day of school.

I am aware of three staff members who will not be available tomorrow evening:
  • Christina Thomas, Grade 7 Spartan Communication Arts - she should have sent out a previous communication to her parents and has made arrangements with another Communication Arts teacher in that grade level to answer questions.
  • Sharrie Cognac, Technology/Industrial Arts - her sub, Richard Hellewig, should be present tomorrow evening to provide class information.
  • Colleen Deibel, Grade 7 Titan Science - her sub, Matt Mortillo, should be present tomorrow evening to provide class information.
Thank you.  We look forward to seeing you tomorrow evening.

Greg

Saturday, August 16, 2014

August 16, 2014



Good afternoon.  I hope you are enjoying this rainy Saturday.

We seem to have had a good start to the school year, thanks to you, your kids, and our staff.  The 6th graders went through a day of orientation activities on Wednesday and seemed to handle it well.  Staff members were “on call” all day to help all students find their classrooms, provide help with lockers, and answer questions that came up. 

I will assume that issues with bus routes and arrival/departure times will be sorted out soon.  We have had a few late-arriving morning buses, with no penalty to students in terms of tardies.  We have also had some buses arrive on campus in the afternoon later than normal.  Once we get routes ironed out, we should be dismissing buses in about 7 minutes after dismissal.   

CONGRATULATIONS and THANKS

Thank you to Jodi Blucher and Jodi Minkler (Co-Presidents) and members of the LMSPA Executive Board for hosting our first Parent Coffee this morning in the Cafeteria.  The turnout was much larger than in years past, which is a great indicator of our overall level of parent involvement and support here.  We are blessed to have the support of an outstanding Parent Association. 

Thank you, as well, to everyone who has made a right turn onto Clayton Road in the mornings.  This may seem like a minor item, but it makes a HUGE difference in getting cars out of the lot in a timely manner.

CALENDAR ITEMS

Monday, 8/18
Parent/Guardian Technology Agreement and Student User Agreement forms due   
     to the Office
Wednesday, 8/20
Meet The Teacher Night, 6:30 – 8:30 pm (see below)

Tuesday, 8/26
After School Activities begin (Tuesdays and Thursdays)
Wednesday, 8/27
School Picture Day (see below)
6th Grade Camp Parent meeting, 7 – 8 pm (see below)

Monday, 9/1
Labor Day: NO SCHOOL
Tuesday, 9/2
SRI Reading assessments; Grades 7 and 8
Wednesday, 9/3
SRI Reading assessments; Grade 6

Monday, 9/8
Discovery Education (DE) assessments; through Thursday, 9/11
     Block Day schedules
Friday, 9/12
Early Release day; 12:40 pm

Monday, 9/15
6th Grade Camp Session 1; through Wednesday, 9/17
Wednesday, 9/17
6th Grade Camp Session 2; through Friday, 9/19

Wednesday, 9/24
Fundraiser Kickoff assemblies; Periods 1, 2, 3
Friday, 9/26
Fundraiser Postcard turn in; during Lunch periods

Thursday, 10/2
Fundraiser Turn In day 1; during Lunch periods
7th Grade Party; 3:10 – 4:10 pm
Friday, 10/3
Ram Award Pizza day; during Lunch periods

CORRECTION/ADDITION(S)

NEW ITEMS

School Pictures
Picture packets should be distributed to your children today to bring home for your information.  Picture day is scheduled for Wednesday, August 27.  If you wish to order a picture packet, there are two choices:
·      Have your child return the completed picture form back to school, with payment, on August 27.  When their class or group is called to the Gym, they can give this directly to the photographers.
·      Order online prior to picture day at www.WagnerPortraitGoup.com and use the password LMS.
All students, regardless of whether you wish to purchase a packet or not, should be photographed on August 27 for two reasons: yearbook and updated our student database system.  For those students who are absent on August 27, or have problems with their photo from that day, a Picture Retake Day is scheduled for Wednesday, October 8.

6th Grade Camp Information
Information about 6th grade camp will be sent home this evening (Friday).  Paperwork can be turned in to your child's 8th period teacher anytime, but no later than August 29.  Additional camp information and copies of what is sent home today can also be found on the middle school website at:
http://www.ladue.k12.mo.us/lms/ExtraStuff/6thGradeCamp.html

Meet The Teacher Night
Meet The Teacher Night is Wednesday, August 20, from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Student schedules will be going home on Tuesday.  Please bring this schedule with you on Wednesday evening as you will be following your child's schedule during the program.  More information about the evening can be found at:
http://www.ladue.k12.mo.us/lms/pdfs/MeetTheTeacherNightFlyer2014.pdf
Due to limited parking on our campus, a shuttle bus will be available and will be running between Ladue Chapel (9450 Clayton Road) and LMS from 6 – 9 pm.

Spring Break Opportunity
Visit Costa Rica during Spring Break! There will be an informational meeting for 8th grade Spanish students and parents interested in going to Costa Rica during Spring Break on Thursday, August 28 at 6pm in the library. This information is the same that was given during the informational meeting last year. Parents are invited to accompany their children, but it is not required. The deadline for signing up is November 1. If you have any questions or cannot attend, please email Sarah Schwartz (8th grade AP) at saschwartz@ladueschools.net or call 983-5529.

8th Grade Sports
Is your 8th grader interested in running cross country (co-ed) or playing volleyball (girls) this fall? 8th grade sports are starting soon. Next week, students will have the opportunity to sign up for fall sports during lunch. The sports program is a free, no cut, all play program the focuses on positive sportsmanship and character development. Practices are Tuesdays and Thursdays after school from 3:10-4:10. There is a late bus available after practice. The first practice is Tuesday, September 2. In order to participate, students must turn in required forms and have a physical on file dated on or after February 1. The forms can be found here: http://teachersites.ladue.k12.mo.us/lms/jtheodosiou/8th_Grade_Sports/Welcome.html Paper copies are available in the office. Forms can be turned in to the office or Coach Theodosiou. If you have questions, please email Sarah Schwartz (saschwartz@ladueschools.net) or Coach Theodosiou (jtheodosiou@ladueschools.net).

UPDATED ITEMS

Fall Parent Conferences
Parent Conferences are scheduled for Wednesday, October 22 (3:50 to 7:30 pm) and Thursday, October 23 (1:20 to 6:40 pm). 
Sign ups are now available online at:
http://www.myconferencetime.com/laduems
You may also the website by going to the LMS webpage using the following link:
Prior to completing your sign up, please carefully review the instructions that are provided.  Do not delay in signing up as appointment slots fill up very quickly.

REPEAT ITEMS

GENERAL INFORMATION

Student Handbooks
As previously communicated, teachers will review the Student Handbook with students during the first days of school.  Please pay particular attention to the sections on Dress Code and Electronic Devices.  Hard copies of our Student Handbook should be coming home with your kids no later than next Friday, August 22.

Electronic Devices
After sending out previous information regarding our expectations and practices regarding student possession and use of electronic devices, a parent inquiry made up think about e-readers (Kindles and Nooks).  The consensus of the staff and administration is that student possession and use of e-readers is acceptable during the school day (using the same parameters for use of traditional books).  For those e-reader devices that have game capability, it is stressed that they only be used for reading purposes during approved class time.
Students who wish to carry e-readers with them during the day should keep them in their possession at all times.  Please understand that student possession of a personal electronic device at school is at the parent’s discretion.  The school cannot be liable for damage or loss during personal use, improper/unapproved use, or use by another student. 

Lockers/Decorations
Historically, we have allowed students to decorate the outside of their lockers.  This year, we are asking that the outside of lockers remain free of pictures, decorations, stickers, etc.  This will include decorations placed on lockers by other students to celebrate birthdays.  We are working on an alternative to allow students to help their friends celebrate, possibly using notecards which can be deposited into the locker interiors through vents in the locker door.  Our goal is to keep lockers and hallways clean and clutter-free, and we thank you for your cooperation on this.

Technology Forms
Parent/Guardian Technology Agreement and Student User Agreement forms will need to be completed by all 6th grade parents and students.  These forms will be included in 7th and 8th grade packets and will need to be completed if they do not currently have one on file.  Please return these forms by Monday, August 18.

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.

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 you 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.

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 hope you and your families have a great weekend.

Best,


Greg