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Friday, July 31, 2015

July 31, 2015

To all LMS Parents and Students:

Good afternoon on this glorious Friday.

     In an effort to ensure that I have covered at least the essential items of information leading up to our students’ arrival on August 11, I am sending this out.  Many of the items below have been communicated previously.  I hope this message answers any remaining questions that you may have before the beginning of school.  If not, please email me at gbaber@ladueschools.net.

Staffing for 2015-2016
At last count, we will have sixteen new faces serving our students at LMS this year due to retirement, relocation, and/or professional advancement.  They are:
·      Mr. Quentin Alimayu – Grade 7 Social Studies
·      Ms. Megan Brendel – Teaching Assistant
·      Ms. Sonja Brewer – Apogee/Gifted
·      Mr. Adam Durham – Grade 7 Science
·      Ms. Christine Earnhart – Grade 7 Science
·      Ms. Shaina Fall – FACS
·      Ms. Nikki Foristel-Weiss – Grade 6 Communication Arts
·      Ms. Megan Grossbauer – Grade 7 Mathematics
·      Ms. Courtney Hanstein – Special School District
·      Ms. Melshonda Lowe-Dobbins – Art
·      Ms. Tara Matthews – Teaching Assistant
·      Mr. Curtis Nguyen – Technology Support
·      Ms. Rachel Renna – Grade 8 Communication Arts
·      Ms. Lisa Stein – Grade 6 Science
·      Ms. Yvette Sykes – Counselor
·      Ms. Jessica Young – Teaching Assistant (Physical Education)
In addition, the following returning staff members will be filling new roles for the coming year:
·      Ms. Marion Allen – Reading Intervention
·      Ms. Amy Bullman – FACS
·      Ms. Suzanne Costanza – Grade 6 Mathematics
·      Ms. Melody Frese – Library Media Specialist
·      Ms. Jennifer Gardner – Math Intervention
·      Ms. Erin Heckendorn – Math Intervention
·      Mr. Matt Strayhorn – Grade 8 Mathematics
·      Ms. Velma Valadez – Grade 8 Communication Arts

Packet Pickup
     Student packets, including schedules, locker assignments, and forms, can be acquired from LMS on:
·      Monday, August 3 from 7 am to noon, and
·      Tuesday, August 4 from noon to 5 pm.  
     Please be aware that:
·      A parent of each student must be present for the packet to be released.  Packets may be issued to a student’s older sibling, neighbor and/or family friend if we are provided with a hand-written, signed note by a parent specifying the student name, the parent designee name/relationship, and the reason for the request.
·      Information regarding Proof of Residency must be current before packets can be released.
·      Incoming or returning 8th grade students are required by State law to have their required Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) immunization on file with our School Nurse before they can receive their packets and begin the school year.  Immunization information can be brought to school during packet pickup times, can be faxed to LMS at 314-997-8736 or can be emailed to Nurse Patrick at cpatrick@ladueschools.net
·      New enrollees who have not met with their Counselor by next Monday or Tuesday will not be issued their schedule, team assignment and locker assignment until they do so.
     If for some reason, parents are unable to acquire their student’s packet on the dates and times listed above, alternate times will be provided as follows:
·      Wednesday, August 5; 12:30 – 3 pm.
·      Thursday, August 6; 12:30 – 3 pm.
·      Friday, August 7; 9 am – 2 pm.

Community Night: Thursday, August 6; 4 – 7 pm
     As previously communicated, Community Night is a yearly event sponsored by the Ladue Middle School Parent Association.  This evening provides students and parents opportunities to stock lockers, tour the building and locate classrooms, turn in Parent Association forms, make connections and get information from the LMSPA, and enjoy dinner provided by the LMS Dads Club.  Community Night will occur on a Thursday this year to accommodate end-of-summer family trips prior to the first day of school.  
     For more information regarding Community Night, please check out the LMSPA website at http://mylmspa.com/.  The LMS Dad's Club could use additional volunteers to help with set-up starting at 3 pm.  Whether you can help out for just an hour or a few hours, interested parties can sign up by contacting      
the LMS Dad’s Club President , Joe Mulligan, at 314.503.4384 or email at joemulligan910@gmail.com.

Lockers
     Each student at LMS is provided with their own locker for use during the school year.  Please be aware that the school does NOT provide locks.  These can be of any type, as long as we have a record of the combination (in case we need to open the locker, without cutting off the lock).
     A locker assignment will be provided in each student’s packet (subject to the above requirements).  I encourage each student and parent to bring a lock to school on either Monday or Tuesday, so that we can record the combination and the lock can be placed on the correct locker prior to Community Night.  If you have materials with you, they may be placed in the locked locker at that time. 
     If you are new to our building, please be aware that lockers may be decorated on the inside (no permanent decorations or marks), but we do not allow decorations or other items to be attached to the outside for any reason.
     One last note regarding lockers: We face a yearly challenge when students do not use their assigned lockers, but rather place their items and their lock on any that appear “better” (i.e. closer to a friend, etc.).  Please help us make sure that your student uses only their assigned locker and prevent unnecessary confusion.

Schedule Changes
     As communicated previously, a massive amount of schedule changes have been requested in the last few days leading up to the first day of school in past years.  The large majority of these requested schedule changes have resulted from children comparing their schedules and wishing to be in class _____ with a friend.
     We have been working on the master schedule, and scheduling, since registration forms were completed and returned this past spring.  We have been able to make team placements based upon parent input regarding their student’s learning styles and needs, we have determined the best placement of core and elective classes to meet the majority of course needs and requests, and we have worked diligently to balance our class section sizes as much as is possible.       With this in mind, I will take on the role of “bad guy” and have instructed Mrs. Stephens to NOT make schedule changes based upon the desire to be in the same class section with a friend.
     If a schedule is incorrect, we will certainly do our best to correct it.  Should an incorrect schedule require our attention, Mrs. Stephens will be available on the following dates and times:
·      August 3; 7 am – noon
·      August 4; noon – 5 pm
·      Wednesday, August 5; 11 am – 3 pm
·      Thursday, August 6; 11 am – 3 pm
·      Friday, August 7; 8 am – 2 pm
·      Please be aware that no schedule changes can be made on Monday, August 10.  Schedules of all students will be printed that day in preparation for the beginning of school on Tuesday.  Schedule changes that meet the criteria outlined above that arise on or after Tuesday, August 11 should be made through the student’s grade level counselor.
     There may also be instances in which your child did not get their first Elective class choice.  We do our best to meet these requests, but with limitations in class sections and class sizes, we may need to look at a student’s second or third choices (that is why our Registration form asks for a listing of prioritized choices).          

Office Closures
     As a result of our district-level Opening Meeting and our LMS Staff Meetings next week, our office will only be open 11 am until 3 pm on:
·      Wednesday, August 5 and
·      Thursday, August 6.

Thank you for your time regarding this rather lengthy message.  I hope you and your families have a great weekend.


Greg

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Grade 8 Tdap Immunization Reminder

To Parents of LMS 8th Grade Students for the 2015-2016 school year:

Good afternoon.  I hope everyone is well.

My most recent communication with our LMS Nurse, Christina Patrick, indicates that approximately fifty-five students do not currently have documentation regarding their Tdap immunizations on file with her.  Since Packet Pickup days are upcoming, next Monday August 3 (7 am to noon) and Tuesday August 4 (noon to 5 pm), I wanted to get a reminder out to hopefully prevent any problems or confusion on those days.

Below is a copy of previous communications regarding the Tdap immunization requirement for those students entering 8th grade.  As previously shared, students without this documentation on file with Nurse Patrick will NOT be able to pick up their packets/schedules on August 3 or 4.  Those who have not completed the immunization (with the required documentation) by August 11 will NOT be able to begin school until this immunization is completed and on file with our School Nurse.

8th Grade Students and Tdap Immunizations
     This immunization is required for each student at Ladue Middle School prior to starting 8th grade.  Letters Christina Patrick, LMS School Nurse, were included in your child’s 3rd quarter report card of 7th grade with details of the requirement.  An email regarding this requirement was also sent at the end of May, 2015.
     In order to pick up your 8th grader’s packet on August 3 and August 4, a copy of your child's immunization record indicating that the Tdap immunization was received must be provided to our Nurse.  Students will not be permitted, by State law, to attend school until this immunization requirement is met.  Updated records regarding the Tdap immunization can be scanned and emailed to Nurse Patrick at cpatrick@ladueschools.net, can be faxed to our office at 314-997-8736, or paper copies can be brought in to our office.

Thank you for your time.


Greg

Monday, July 27, 2015

LMS Dads Club/Community Night

Good morning.

The following is from the Ladue Middle School Dads Club, regarding next Thursday's Community Night.

"The LMS Dad's Club and the LMS Parent Association will be providing food and refreshments free of charge to the LMS students and their families at the Community Night on Thursday August 6th. We will be serving hamburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, kosher dogs, chips, cookies and lemonade. The LMS Dad's Club has arranged to have the LMS kitchen staff prepare the food, so all you need to do is stand inside in the air conditioning and smile while you serve the kids and the families in the LMS community. The food will be served in the LMS cafeteria starting around 4:30 p.m. and will conclude by no later than 7:30 p.m.

This annual event is always a lot of fun and a great opportunity to see some of your old friends and
make some new ones. It is also a great opportunity to meet some of your children’s “school friends” and their parents.

The LMS Dad's Club needs additional volunteers to help with set-up starting at 3:00 p.m.  Whether you can help out for just an hour or a few hours, interested parties can sign up by clicking here.  For
questions or additional information, please contact the LMS Dad’s Club President – Joe Mulligan – at 314.503.4384 or joemulligan910@gmail.com . Thanks and we look forward to seeing everyone on
August 6th."

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

July 14, 2015

Good afternoon. 

I wanted to get some information out to you before leaving on vacation for the next ten days.  Dr. Taylor-Johnson and Mr. Lackey will be the administrators on-site at LMS during this time. 

Late Work/Grading Policy
I failed to include the following in my previous message.  After lengthy consideration this past spring, we have determined that our Late Work practice regarding grading should be adjusted for 2015-16.  We do this with the intent of finding the best means of 1) encouraging all students to complete work, while also 2) providing an incentive to develop positive work habits, support the development of organizational skills, and reinforce the importance of meeting deadlines.  As a result, the following section will be included in our 2015-16 Student Handbook:
“Students are expected to complete all assigned work by the due date, but will have an opportunity to submit work within a reasonable time after the due date and earn at least 70% of the score they would have earned if it had been submitted on time.  Students should submit work within two weeks of the due date before the assignment is assigned a grade of zero.  Some work requires timely submission for learning to occur and is subject to exception.”

8th Grade Students and Tdap Immunizations
This immunization is required for each student at Ladue Middle School prior to starting 8th grade.  Letters Christina Patrick, LMS School Nurse, were included in your child’s 3rd quarter report card of 7th grade with details of the requirement.  An email regarding this requirement was also sent at the end of May, 2015.
In order to pick up your 8th grader’s packet on August 3 and August 4, a copy of your child's immunization record indicating that the Tdap immunization was received must be provided to our Nurse.  Students will not be permitted, by State law, to attend school until this immunization requirement is met.  Updated records regarding the Tdap immunization can be scanned and emailed to Nurse Patrick at cpatrick@ladueschools.net, can be faxed to our office at 314-997-8736, or paper copies can be brought in to our office.

Community Night
I include this to remind everyone that Community Night is scheduled to occur on Thursday, August 6, from 4 – 7 pm.  This yearly event is sponsored by the LMSPA.
The original date was posted as Friday, August 7.  We are in the process of getting this information changed on our LMS website.

Meet The Teacher Night
This event, scheduled for Wednesday, August 19, is an opportunity to touch base with your child’s LMS teachers.  It will begin at 6:30 pm and should conclude by 8:30 pm.  We will begin the evening with a parent meeting in the LMS Gymnasium.  You will then follow a shortened version of your child’s schedule and will be provided with information regarding each of their classes.  Since parking on our campus is limited, we have made arrangements to secure the services of a shuttle bus, which will run between LMS and Ladue Chapel from 6 to 9 pm. 

Fall Parent Conferences
Our tentative dates for Fall Conferences are October 21 and 22.  Our format in recent years has been for core teams (composed of four teachers) to schedule conferences in 20-minute time blocks.  Four sets of parents then meet with each teacher, who then rotate around the room every 5 minutes.
This structure has caused us some challenges: 1) We cannot always offer enough times slots for every parent during our scheduled conference times.  This results in alternate dates and times being scheduled during our core teams’ conference/plan times.  2) Five minute conversations are very hurried and don’t offer opportunities for many questions or in-depth conversations.  Some times, these conversations go over the allotted 5 minutes, which then causes us to be late with the next group of parents.
As a result, we are looking at the possibility of changing our format for this fall.  Both options involve meeting with one member of the core team, for an extended period of time (either 10 or 15 minutes).  Teachers would provide that selected team member with information regarding the student, which would then be shared in a more extended conversation.  Based upon parent sign ups, teams would be offered the flexibility of meeting with certain parents during the time slot if that child is struggling in their class. 
I want to emphasize that we are looking at options at this time.  A factor in selecting a format is trying to ensure that we are able to offer parents opportunities to meet with teachers during the established conference time periods.  We will discuss this with staff upon their return and will communicate our decision at the earliest opportunity.  We will also publicize when on-line sign ups are available, likely in early September.

LMSPA Fundraiser
The LMSPA Fall Fundraiser begins on September 3.  This year the fundraiser will offer many new options: 1) A personal savings App for discounts in the area right on your phone; 2) Gourmet food items - candy, nuts, baked good, cheese and sausage, and gift items; 3) Digital photo gift items, and of course 4) The opportunity to renew and purchase new magazines.
The Parent Association is excited to offer so many fresh, new ways to support LMS.  Remember, funds are used by the Parent Association to provide additional technology, support for teachers, and enrich LMS for all students.
Please watch for information to come home in September.  Don't forget you can renew subscriptions today at gafundraising.com, school id # 2652758.  Contact Elizabeth Cobin at cobin@att.net should you have any questions.

Thank you for your time.


Greg