August 11, 2015



Good afternoon. 

Based upon a very informal survey of students and staff today, I believe the first day of school is going reasonably well.  We have made it through lunches, 6th grade students continue their orientation activities through their team classes, and staff has been very visible in hallways during passing periods to help with questions and directions. 

Traffic flow this morning was a bit more involved than normal, due to the large number of parents bringing their children to school by car.  This should become smoother over the next few days.  Please be aware that we attempt to get cars into our Circle Drive for drop off before buses begin arriving (typically before 7:50 am).  Once buses do begin arriving, we divert car traffic to the back of our building for drop off at the rear doors to the Gym.  During our peak traffic times, many folks tied up cars trying to exit our campus by attempting to make left-hand turns onto Clayton Road.  In order to keep outbound traffic flowing, I ask that you make a right-hand turn.

In order to begin the school year on a positive note, and reinforce some of our basic Character Education concepts and practices with all students, we will be following a slightly modified schedule Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  All students will report to a faculty/staff member at the beginning of each morning for a 40-minute instructional/review period.  Topics covered over the next three days during this time will include expected classroom behavior, expected hallway behavior, and our LMS Honor Code.  Students will be informed this afternoon by their team teachers where they should report beginning tomorrow morning.  Once these sessions are done, we will follow a regular schedule with shortened class periods.  Dismissal will remain at 3:05 pm each afternoon.

CONGRATULATIONS and THANKS

A very big thank you to all our office staff, custodians, and teachers for getting us ready for this morning.

Thank you to the LMS Parent Association for funding our staff breakfast during our opening staff meeting on August 6 and for providing snacks, bottled water and sodas in our lounge yesterday.

CALENDAR ITEMS

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 on 8/14.)

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.)
6th Grade Camp Parent meeting; 7 – 8:30 pm; LMS Cafeteria

Thursday, 9/3
LMS Fundraiser Kickoff and Assemblies; LMS Gym
·      8th Grade – Period 1
·      6th Grade – Period 2
·      7th Grade – Period 3
Friday, 9/4
Early Release Day; 12:40 pm; Professional Development

CORRECTIONS/ADDITION

NEW ITEMS

Fall Parent Conference format
We continue to work on finalizing our format for Fall Parent Conferences.  In years past, we have scheduled four sets of parents with each core team in 20-minute increments.  Parents enter the designated classroom and the four team teachers rotate around every five minutes.  This was aptly described by a former administrator as akin to speed dating.  The challenges that we have encountered with this method have included 1) not having enough time slots open for all parents wishing to schedule a conference, and 2) not providing enough time for much in terms of conversation.
We are looking at options to address the two challenges listed above and will communicate our final decision soon.  At that time, we will make online conference sign ups available.

UPDATED ITEMS

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).

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).          

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

Thank you for your time.

I should be following this with a regular Update on Friday or over the weekend.

Greg


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