July 8, 2015


Good afternoon to you all.

     I will attempt to cover as many items as possible regarding the beginning of the 2015-16 school year as possible in this message.  This one will be much longer than my normal weekly updates.  For those of you who are new to LMS, what follows will be the standard format I will use for those weekly emails and blog postings.

CONGRATULATIONS and THANKS

     Congratulations to PE Teacher Stephanie O’Neal and 2014-15 PE Teacher Assistant Hanna Bremerkamp.  Stephanie and Hanna coordinated this past year’s Hoops For Heart program, sponsored by the American Heart Association.  Due to their efforts, and those of our 2014-15 students, LMS was ranked in the top ten Missouri schools this past year.

     I wish to publicly thank our year-round office staff (Nancy Edwards, Peggy Breidenbach, and Carol Stephens) and our Custodians (Milan Rakic, J.B. Tate and Steve Bell) for all their hard work and dedication this summer.  Most of what they do during these months goes on “behind the scenes” and is invaluable to me and us as we prepare for the coming school year.  A special thank you goes out as well to our Administrative staff, composed of Tiffany Taylor-Johnson, Scott Lackey and Sarah Schwartz for their contributions, time and support.

     Thank you to our wonderful Ladue Middle School Parent Association for their continued support of our programs, our staff, and our students.

CALENDAR ITEMS

     Our office is now open from 7 am to 4:15 pm, Monday through Thursday, and will be closed on Friday.  This schedule will extend through the week of July 13 – 16.  We will resume our five-day workweek on Monday, July 20, which is 7:30 am – 3:15 pm.

Wednesday, 7/22
6th grade parent meeting; 10 – 11 am; LMS Cafeteria
6th grade parent meeting; 6 – 7 pm; LMS Cafeteria

Tuesday, 7/28
7th grade parent meeting; 6 – 7 pm; LMS Library
Thursday, 7/30
8th grade parent meeting; 6 – 7 pm; LMS Library

Monday, 8/3
Packet Pickup; 7 am – noon; LMS Lobby (See more about Packet Pickup below.)
Tuesday, 8/4
Packet Pickup; noon – 5 pm; LMS Lobby
Wednesday, 8/5
District Staff meeting; 8 – 11 am; LMS office closed
Thursday, 8/6
LMS Building Staff meeting; 8 – 11 am; LMS office closed
LMS Community Night; 4 – 7 pm (Date change/See more about Community Night below.)

Monday, 8/10
New 7th and 8th grade student orientation; 8:30 – 10 am (All 6th graders will go through orientation on the first day of school.)
Tuesday, 8/11
First day of school
Friday, 8/14
LMS parent coffee (all grades); 8:30 – 9:30 am; LMS Cafeteria

Wednesday, 8/19
LMS Meet The Teacher Night; 6:30 – 8:30 pm (More information to follow.)

Monday, 8/24
SRI Reading assessments; Grade 7
Tuesday, 8/25
SRI Reading assessments; Grades 6 and 8
After School Activities for Quarter 1 begin (More information to follow.)
Wednesday, 8/26
School Pictures (More information to follow.)

CORRECTIONS/ADDITIONS

     Should I leave anything out, or make any mistakes, I will follow up with subsequent messages.

NEW ITEMS

Community Night
     Community Night (a great yearly event sponsored by the Ladue Middle School Parent Association) has provided past students and parents opportunities to stock their 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.  We have typically held this evening on the Friday preceding the beginning of school.
     At the request and suggestion of the LMSPA, this event will occur on Thursday, August 6 (some previous calendars may have listed Friday, August 7) to accommodate end-of-summer family trips prior to the first day of school.  Due to the change of date, I will not be able to provide office staff during that evening to handle some of the items above (although I and at least some of the administrators should be present).  As such, we will provide alternate times for the collection of such items and other functions as outlined in the following topics.  For more information regarding Community Night, please check out the LMSPA website at http://mylmspa.com/

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 on 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 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 begin the school year.  Packets cannot be issued until we receive that documentation.
·      New enrollees, who have not met with their Counselor by the stated Packet Pickup dates, will not be issued a packet (with a schedule, team assignment, and locker assignment) until they do so.
     If, for some reason, you are unable to retrieve your student’s packet on the dates and times above, packets may be acquired from our office on:
·      Wednesday, August 5; 12:30 – 3 pm
·      Thursday, August 6; 12:30 – 3 pm
·      Friday, August 7; 9 am – 2 pm

Lockers
     Although we provide a locker for each student, please be aware that you and your child will need to provide a personal lock.  This 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).
     With the change in date of Community Night, resulting in the absence of office staff, students and parents will be notified of locker assignments during Packet Pickup and will be able to provide lock combinations at that time.  Please, if possible, bring your student and their lock for Packet Pickup so that they can put it on their locker then.  If time permits, you and your student may also stock their 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.

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.

Schedule Changes
     In years past, a massive amount of schedule changes have been requested in the last few days leading up to the first day of school.  I would like to discourage this practice.
     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.
     If a schedule is incorrect, we will certainly do our best to correct it.  I am asking that you and your student refrain from asking us to make “I want to be in _____ class with my friend” changes. 
     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).          
     Should an incorrect schedule require our attention, Mrs. Stephens in our office will be available on the following dates and times:
·      August 3; 7 am – Noon
·      August 4; Noon – 5 pm
·      Wednesday, August 5; 12:30 – 3 pm
·      Thursday, August 6; 12:30 – 3 pm
·      Friday, August 7; 9 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.

UPDATED ITEMS

Staffing for 2015-16
     We will welcome eleven new members to our LMS faculty this coming school year.  These changes come as a result of retirement, relocation, and/or professional advancement.  Our new faculty members are:
·      Shaina Fall; FACS
·      Yvette Sykes; Counselor
·      Adam Durham; Grade 7 Science
·      Christine Earnhart; Grade 7 Science
·      Lisa Stein; Grade 6 Science
·      Megan Grossbauer; Grade 7 Mathematics
·      Melshonda Lowe-Dobbins; Art
·      Quentin Alimayu; Grade 7 Social Studies
·      Rachel Renna; Grade 8 English/Language Arts
·      Nikki Foristel-Weiss; Grade 6 English/Language Arts
·      Sonja Brewer; Apogee
     Several returning staff members will also serve new or revised roles this coming year.  They are:
·      Amy Bullman; FACS
·      Melody Frese; Library/Media Specialist
·      Suzanne Costanza; Grade 6 Mathematics
·      Erin Heckendorn and Jennifer Gardner; Math Intervention
·      Matt Strayhorn; Grade 8 Mathematics
·      Velma Valadez; Grade 8 English/Language Arts
·      Marion Allen; Reading Intervention
     Our final round of interviews will occur this month in order to fill remaining Teaching Assistant positions.

REPEAT ITEMS

Student Drop Off, Pick Up
     As in recent years, we ask that you not drop off students at school until 7:15 am.  Prior to that time, I do not have assigned staff in the building for supervision and do not wish for students to be standing outside our doors (particularly in inclement weather).
     Morning student drop off by car can occur at the front entrance to our building prior to around 7:50 am, when buses typically begin arriving.  At the arrival of the first bus, cars will then be directed to the rear of the building with drop off at the rear doors to the Gym.  Cars will then be directed to the exit on Clayton Road (not through the Circle Drive), with the sincere request that each makes a right-hand turn onto Clayton.  Cars attempting to make a left-hand turn onto Clayton, when busy, cause significant delays and congestion in our parking lot.  Please also do not drop off students by car in the front of our parking lot, as this can be potentially dangerous and causes buses entering the lot to be restricted.
     Buses begin lining up in the Circle Drive for student dismissal around 2:45 pm.  We ask that, should you need to pick up a student by car before the 3:05 pm dismissal, that you park in one of the available spots in our parking lot and not block the Circle Drive for buses.  Cars for afternoon pickup will be directed to line up in the back of our building, along the Maintenance Road.  After buses load and depart (typically by 3:15 pm at the latest), cars are then released to pick up students in the Circle Drive at the front of our building. 
     Please be aware that parking in the bank lot, across Conway Road from our campus, is restricted for business customers only (particularly in the afternoons).  I also ask that cars not line up in the front of our parking lot in the afternoons, thereby blocking exiting staff members and visitors (and causing potentially dangerous situations).
     I am attaching a diagram of morning and afternoon traffic flow to the Blackboard Connect email, if this helps.

Incoming 8th grade students/Immunizations for 2015-2016
     Students entering 8th grade in the state of Missouri are required to receive the TDaP (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) immunization.  This is usually given by a doctor at age 11 or 12.  If your child has not received this immunization, please consult your physician.  If you have records showing that your child has received it, please provide them to the nurse's office.

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

Thank you for your time in reviewing the above information.  There is very likely something that I have left out.  If so, I will send out follow up messages as needed.  I hope you and your families enjoy the remainder of your summer.  My family and I are counting the days until we can get away for some trout fishing beginning next Wednesday.  I look forward to seeing you and your children in August.

Sincerely,

Greg


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