Color block logo of Deal Alice Deal Weekly Bulletin

August 25, 2008
"Think globally. Listen compassionately. Act inclusively."
Thought for the week

"One cannot go back and make a brand new beginning;
but they can start at this point, and create a brand new ending."
--- Author Unknown


Bell Schedule
 
Monday - Bell II
Tuesday - Bell I
Wednesday -Bell II (HR-  Learner Profile Activity)
Thursday -Bell I
Friday - Bell I
ALERT! 
Must prove DC residency now!

Preparations have been made for a smooth opening of the school year.  However, many of you need to verify your DC residency.  If this is not taken care of in the next 10 days, your  child will be excluded from school.

Please do not disrupt your child's learning.

Come in to verify residency today!

If you have questions, please email Ms. Baxter.

[email protected]

THANKS!!
STAY INFORMED!
Join Our Mailing List
Deal MS is an IB MYP Candidate School!!!!

At the end of the last school year, the Deal faculty submitted an initial application to the International Baccalaureate (the IB) to begin the multi-step task of becoming an International Baccalaureate World School, one that offers the IB Middle Years Programme. During the summer, the IB informed Deal that its initial application had been accepted!  At the end of this school year, we will submit the second part of the application. If all goes well, the IB will accept that application and schedule a visit in the following school year.  
 
What does this mean for Deal students and teachers? As part of the application process, Deal must begin to implement the IB Middle Years Programme in both 7th and 8th grades. Teachers will be designing IB lessons, working on curriculum and assessments, learning IB methods and practices -- all the tough work that goes into making the school eligible to become an IB World School.

Students will start to see activities and teaching units that focus on the thematic Areas of Interaction, begin to explore real-world questions about their subjects, and challenge their assumptions with focused inquiry.

This will be a year of great growth and development with the IB MYP -- with the end product an even-stronger school and community.

Upcoming Activities!


 
Monday
First Day of School!

Thursday
Sally Foster Packets sent home
Music Dept. Family Night 6:30PM

September 1st
Labor Day (Holiday)

September 2nd
7th grade expectations assembly

September 3rd
8th grade expectations assembly

September 4th
DC BAS testing
PTA Welcome Reception 6-8PM

September 5th
DC BAS testing
LSRT meeting 7:30 AM

September 8th
Hemlock Trip forAztecs

September 9th
Hemlock Trip for Green Scholars

September 10th
Hemlock Trip for Olympians

September 12th
Sally Foster Collection Day!

September 15th
PTA conference appointment sheets sent home

September 19th
Hispanic Heritage Assembly

September 22nd
Spirit Week begins!

September 24th
Mid-Advisory Progress/ Deficiency Reports sent home
Student Council Induction Ceremony

September 25th
Back to School Night 6:30 - 9PM
International Trip Parent Mtg 5:30PM
Sally Foster Collection Day!

October 2nd
Math Night 6:30 - 8PM

October 3rd
LSRT mtg 7:30AM
Parent Teacher Conference Day
(students not in school)

October 7th
National History Day Workshop for parents and students 7PM

October 13th
Columbus Day (Holiday)

October 16th
International Night 7-9PM

October 17th
Jamestown/ Williamsburg Trip for 8th graders

October 23
Sally Foster Pick-up day
Student Portrait Day

October 24th
End of 1st advisory
Halloween Party 3:30 - 6PM

October 28th & 29th
DC BAS testing

October 30th
Wilson Night 6:30PM

October 31st
Record keeping day -  students dismissed @ 12:15

November 3rd
Student Council Non-Perishable Food Drive begins

November 6th
Career Day
Deal Night 6:30 - 8PM
 
November 7th
Reportcards Issued
LSRT meeting 7:30AM

November 8th & 9th
Politics & Prose Book Store Sale!

November 11th
Veteran's Day (Holiday)
Message from Principal Kim
Principal Kim
Welcome to the first day of school!  Your school's staff, teachers, and administrators -- as well as construction crews -- have been eagerly preparing for this day!

It was a joy to welcome more than 400 7th grade students and their famiy members last Friday during orientation!  The students had the opporunity to meet their teachers and go through a shortened version of the normal school day before the first official day of school.  While the students were meeting with their teachers and meeting new friends, their parents met together at a parent orientation meeting.  At the end of the afternoon, we shared lunch together in our beautiful new cafeteria!

I invite all the parents who came on Friday to stay intimately involved with us through the school year!  Joining the PTA is the very first step!  I would like to see 100% participation in the PTA this year!

Parents, your child will be bringing home a first-day packet today.  Please be sure to fill out all of the forms and return it to us soon.  The first homeroom in each grade level to reach 100% return will celebrate with a pizza party! 

Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you to all the parents and students who came out to beautify Deal on Saturday.  We needed this special love and attention to sweep away some of the construction dust and clutter!  I want to especially thank Mr. Lalley (parent of Emma) for organizing this much needed effort and Ms. Horenstein (parent of Emma Johnson) for donating the bright plants!

I look forward to seeing all our returning students this Monday morning and greeting all of you at the welcome reception on Thursday, September 4th!

Principal Kim
Alice Deal Middle School


Weekly News


Thank You!

  • We thank the following 8th grade students for helping out with 7th grade orientation last Friday:
Lily Cortez*                 Eliza Hamburger*
Abbie Israel*               Abby Melick*
Ruthie Lewis                Christina Harn
Izzy Jensen                 Anna Allard
Anne Marie Torresen     Isabel DiRosa
Lupin Rahman              Richelle Lopez
Anna Allard

*  These students also helped to make the 1st day packets!!! Thanks ladies!
  • Thanks also to Ms. Nwanze (parent of Nicholas, Maria, & Caroline ), Ms. McAdoo (parent of Brianna), Ms. Torresen (parent of Anne Marie), Ms. Burt (parent of Erica Floyd), Ms. Wylegala (parent of Ruthie Lewis), Ms. Ernst (parent of Abby Melick), and Ms. Katz ( parent of Evan).
  • Thanks to Ms. Baxter & Ms. Lindler for coming in during the weekend to make sure that schedules, textbooks, and the front office were all ready for the 1st day!
  • Thanks to all of the Deal staff members for putting in extra time to get classrooms ready for students under tight time pressures!
  • Thanks to Mr. Greenhill for working tirelessly to get our building in shape!  In the past two weeks alone, he has been working 12+ hour days, including weekends.
Attendance Procedures  
  • On the first day of school and for the remainder of the school year, please write "A" for Absent & "T" for Tardy, along with the time a student walks into your class.  Please leave all other spaces blank.  That blank space will signify present and timely arrival.  For the first 2 weeks of school, the office staff will enter attendance in STARS.  Teachers are expected to submit all homeroom (1st period) attendance sheets  to the main office by 9:15.
Textbook, Agenda, & Locker Distribution
  • All students will recieve lockers from HR teachers on the first day of school.  Please be sure to bring in your $1 locker fee.  You must keep your combination private.  Students are expected to keep lockers clean and free of food.
  • All students will receive Deal agendas and Deal pencil cases on the first day of school.
  • Textbook distribution will begin on the first day of school.  All students will be issued textbooks by the end of the week.  Students are responsible for taking care of these books and for their return at the end of the year.  Textbooks will be distributed by the social studies teachers:
    • Monday -  Ms. Mostoller
    • Tuesday - Ms. Simpson-Wayne
    • Wednesday - Mr. Geremia
    • Thursday - Mr. Kirschenbaum
    • Friday - Ms. Kinzer
Deal Middle School Parent- School Compact
  • HR teachers, please be sure to pass out the parent-school compact today.  It should appear as the very first homework assignment in student agendas.  Please keep track of this document and look for 100% return.
Students at Deal Middle School Make Beautiful Music
  • Music at Alice Deal Middle School is very much alive.  The Department of Music is proud to be the home of award-winning musical groups that provide cultivation for budding young musicians.  It is the goal of the department to help students attain success through excellence.  In order to fully understand being excellent, the concept of the 7 C's is applied: Commitment, Communication, Competence, Concentration, Confidence, Consideration, and Cooperation.

Included in the department are the following groups:  Concert Choir, Show Choir, Jazz Band, Concert Band, Beginning Band, and Drumline.   All groups will be holding auditions, and any student can audition by contacting the director.

Being a member of any of these organizations will offer the student the opportunity to travel, perform on campus, as well as off campus, attend workshops and seminars that are provided by outside organizations, take tours of historic sites and even experience music from an interdisciplinary viewpoint. 

The Department of Music is open to any student at Deal who proves that they can be responsible and committed.  Come join us and we will make beautiful music together.  Let's go, Vikings!!
Music Department Parent/Student Meeting
  • The Department of Music will be having a parent/student meeting this Thursday at 6:30 pm at Deal.  If a student is planning on participating in the Music Department for the school year 2008 - 2009, it is important that both the student and a parent/guardian attend this meeting.  This session will address the following topics:  rehearsal schedule, attendance, punctuality, Winter & Spring Concerts, Spring Trip, fundraising, and other possible performances.  Parents please bring a pen with you; there will be forms to fill out.  Thank you and we look forward to seeing you Thursday!

Stay Informed, Music Department Web Group

  • The Department of Music has a web group that alerts parents and students of all activity in the department.  We encourage all families involved with the department to join the group.  Vital information is sent out regularly and, from past experience, parents have been very satisfied and appreciative of the benefits of the group.  If you are interested in joining, just send an email to .
 Calling All Deal Students!
  • All students are encouraged to join the award-winning Concert Choir and Show Choir this year.  We need all of you to join us this year as we begin to prepare for our spring trip to Ohio and other exciting opportunities.  No previous musical experience is required and no audition is needed. Please see Mr. Frye in the basement to sign up for either the Concert Choir or Show Choir.  Even if you were a member of the choir last year, you still need to sign up this year.  Rehearsals will begin next week. 

Physical Education Department

  • The physical education department welcomes all new and returning students to our brand new gymnasium. We are excited to be in this fantastic building and look forward to having a great year in Health & Physical Education.

Fall Sports

  • The fall sports season will get underway right after the Labor Day holiday. The fall athletic teams include boys and girls cross-country, boys and girls soccer, cheerleading, and girls volleyball. If you don't hear announcements about the times and places for these tryouts, stop by the gymnasium and see Mr. Jenkins to get the information and forms you need.

Cross Country Sign-ups on Thursday

  • Interested in making friends, getting in shape, and being part of two championship teams?  Come sign- up for the Deal Girls and Boys Cross Country Teams this Thursday at 3:20 pm in Room 115.  This sign-up meeting is very important, because you will receive the necessary paperwork to be part of the teams.  If you have any questions, stop by Room 115 and see Mr. Geremia.

Teachers Do You Need Resources To Support Your Instruction?

  •  What could you do with extra supplies and resources to support your instruction? Would a few math manipulatives, a brand new set of Bunsen burners, a pair of violins, a bookshelf, or other extra supplies make a difference for you and your students? If so, go to DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit organization that connects public school teachers in need of resources with individuals who want to support their classrooms.
Deal Parent/Author Showcased This Week!
  • Abbe Smith (parent of Joe Greenberg) is reading Tuesday evening at 7 pm at Politics and Prose Bookstore from her book, "Case of a Lifetime." The address is 5015 Connecticut Avenue, NW, and the phone number is 202-364-1919.  Parking lot is around the back of the store and there should be ample on street parking as well at that hour.

Testing Update:  Teachers & Parents Mark Your Calendars!

 
The DC-BAS are formative reading and math assessments that will allow teachers to obtain data about what our students know and how they will be progressing throughout the school year. This data will help to inform and guide our academic program and fill our data walls!

There will be 4 DC-BAS assessments.  Each DC-BAS will be progressively more challenging.  These test are aligned to the standards measured on the DC-CAS.
 
The DC-BAS assessments will help ensure that all Deal students will be ready for the BIG end-of-year DC-CAS test.
 
DC-BAS Testing Dates: 
 
Baseline Assessment
Sept.  4 - 5
First Paced Assessment
Oct.  28-29
Second Paced Assessment
Jan. 14-15
Blueprint Assessment
March 3-4 
 
DC-CAS (Comprehensive Assessment System)
April 20-May 1 
Before & After School Activities ...

                            will begin shortly!
As always, students should only be at school with parent permission! 

Food for Thought...

A Veteran School Teacher on Discipline
           
            In this meaty and helpful Kappan article, Brookline, Massachusetts, teacher Margaret Metzger shares her wisdom on classroom management with teachers. "No one is born knowing how to control 125 adolescents for five hours a day and teach the curriculum at the same time," she says. "Learning to discipline takes years. Mostly it's trial and error. Nothing works all the time, and what works well in one class has no effect on another. However, over time, our repertoire of responses grows; we learn what we can tolerate; we gain a sense of timing; we make alliances within a school. Trust me, you will improve."
            Metzger describes the mistakes she made as teacher. "I hated disciplining adolescents," she writes. "Kids attacked my most vulnerable character flaws, and they could undo my self-esteem in a matter of minutues.  I ricocheted between being a drill sergeant and Mary Poppins. One critical comment could haunt me for days.  I kept making the same mistakes over and over.  I thought everything was my fault."
            Metzger's mother, an accomplished teacher, told her to quit wallowing in failure and learn from classes that went badly. "You need a theory for each problem," her mother said. "Why is it a problem? What do you bring to the situation? What could you have done differently? What other lens could you use to understand the situation? What does the student think happened?" She urged Metzger to keep track of the number of classes a week that were true melt-downs, and sure enough, the number was smaller than Metzger imagined. Having righted the ship, Metzger began to internalize a few beginning "anchoring principles."
 
Early Lessons
  1. Don't escalate, de-escalate. Metzger realized that she was escalating bad situations with knee-jerk, self-righteous anger. "I never liked this trait in myself," she says, "and the kids ridiculed it." She found that if she consciously de-escalated her annoyance with students' foolishness, she could deal with the behavior. She emulated calm teachers, even if she didn't feel calm. "Teachers, like parents, need to use a light touch," she says. "Let go of some infractions. Whisper instead of yell. Use humor. Change locations. Divide and conquer. Talk to students privately. Make a tiny hand movement. Call kids by name. Smile a lot. Listen. Listen. Listen."
  2. Let students save face. Metzger discovered that certain lines allowed her to deftly avoid no-win confrontations: "It's a good thing I like you."  "Here's the deal: I'll pretend I didn't see that, and you never do it again."  "That's inappropriate."  "Consider yourself scolded."  "Can you solve that? Or do you need me to intervene?"   "Am I driving you over the edge?"   These allowed her to keep the lesson going, and allowed malefactors to back down without embarrassment.
  3. Insist on the right to sanity. "[I]t took two years before I completely understood that, as an occupant of the room, I had rights too," says Metzger. She made a long list of "awful behaviors" and rank-ordered them by how much they bothered her: Cheating, ridiculing, shouting, insults, back talk, eyeball rolling, throwing things, gum chewing, tardiness, etc., etc. Then she started working her way down the list, knowing that if she didn't solve the ones at the top, she would leave teaching. Unlike other teachers she admired, Metzger found she couldn't start classes crisply and was therefore less concerned with students being a minute or two late. "On the other hand," she says, "when I ask for student attention, I expect it within three seconds." 
  4. Get help. "For the first several years, I felt too humiliated by my failures to ask for help," says Metzger. "By the second year, I began to make alliances. I learned which guidance counselors really helped, which administrators trusted my judgment, and whether to trust the truant officer. I learned which teachers made good witnesses in difficult meetings. I learned which teachers were always negative and which were positive.  I began to feel not so alone."
More Mature Lessons
In her middle years of teaching, Metzger felt calmer and more confident, and her discipline methods were closely linked to how she taught. Some principles from this era:
  1. Ask questions. Teachers sometimes assume they have all the information they need, but if they ask students questions, they learn more. Throughout one year, Metzger lost sleep over a class that seemed perpetually angry and blamed herself for the problem. On the last day of school, she asked students what was up. "Four people here have parents getting divorced this semester," came the reply, "so when we came in and yelled at you, we were really yelling at them." It would have been nice to know this earlier in the year, she says.
  2. Suck it up. "Sometimes you feel you have already spent too much time on the disruptive students," says Metzger. "Frankly, you don't want to talk to them. Too bad. Do it. Not during class time, and not always in the hall. If you don't trust yourself or them in a conversation, use notes.  But they are your students and you have to deal with it."
  3. Give adult feedback. Students need feedback, sometimes on sensitive cultural and interpersonal issues, but too often, educators withhold that information. Here are some examples of things Metzger said to students:"In the United States, it's considered a sign of disrespect not to look someone in the eyes when they're speaking to you. So, when I speak to you, you should look directly at me. If you don't, I'll point to the bridge of my nose to remind you."  "I know that in your culture, modesty is the highest value. But in school you need to assert yourself. I'll try to help you."  Another example:  "Your posture, your mumbling under your breath, and your tardiness all show disrespect. If you hate this class, you should talk to me about it. If you like this class, you should know that you are giving misleading signals."
  4. Respect the rights of the whole class. "Some students take much more than their fair share of the psychic space in the room," says Metzger. "Try not to focus only on the difficult students; quiet, earnest students are waiting for your attention too."
  5. Ask the students to do more. "If the work seems authentic and interesting, students usually behave well," she writes. "If I up the intellectual ante, if I make the work more compelling, if I focus more on how students learn than on how I teach, I do not need to coerce them."
  6. Remember which rules are important. Metzger tells how her own son, when he was in ninth grade, carefully hatched an elaborate plan to cut a class so he could get the autograph of his favorite author. He figured out which class he could afford to miss and when he would be back, but when he asked his mother to sign him out, she loudly refused. "Oh yeah," he said sarcastically, "I forgot the rule - take responsibility for what you do." Metzger ruefully thought, "That was the real rule. No cutting was a minor rule." She says she admires the way her school breaks minor rules to help students stay in school. Teachers have to decide all the time which rules they will enforce and which they are willing to break for a greater good.
  7. Bypass or solve perennial problems. Teachers go nuts when students don't bring pencils or pens to class or keep forgetting their books. We can get ulcers fighting these battles day after day, says Metzger, or we can keep a supply of pencils and a few extra copies of key books. With books, though, it's important to demand collateral, since students who forget their own book often fail to return a borrowed book. "Ask for something students won't leave the classroom without," she advises: "a watch, an earring, a shoe. Some days I have a collection of shoes and watches on my desk, but every student has a book."
The Bigger Picture
Metzger concludes her article by noting that bad discipline situations are composed of what students bring to the table, but also the adults' baggage. We tend to focus only on what students bring, forgetting the adult factor.

The personal context - The hardest part of classroom discipline is coming to grips with what we bring to the situation, says Metzger. Here are some questions she asks herself:
- Am I tired, grouchy, or distracted?
- What else is going on in my life?
- Has the student hit a raw nerve in me?
- Does this interaction remind me of another one?
- What from my background is being triggered?
- Why am I threatened by this behavior?
- Why do I lack resilience on this matter?
- Does race or gender influence my response?
- Is this problem mine or the student's?
- Am I being inflexible? Am I being authoritative or authoritarian?
- Who is watching?
Metzger says that she has been in some first-rate disciplinary meetings in which everyone has benefited: the student, the school, and the teacher. That's a triple-win, she says.
 
A Memo to Students
Metzger closes by talking about prevention -- the art of managing the classroom so most discipline problems seldom arise. She shares a memo that she gives to students at the beginning of each year titled "Expectations, procedures, rules, quirks, and policies," which lays out everything students need to know about how the ship will be run. Her bottom-line expectation: that her students will behave responsibly. Here are some highlights:
  • If you know in advance that you will be absent, please tell me. I will do the same.
  • If I don't dismiss the class on time because I am too engrossed, please speak up.
  • I will assume you can handle mature and controversial topics. I hope to challenge you to think about some of your beliefs and assumptions. If this class is sometimes disturbing, you should take it as a compliment that I think you can handle discord and ambiguity. If you are bothered by what I say in class, I hope you will tell me directly. 
  • This class is not a Metzger song-and-dance routine. You should move toward a sense of ownership in this class. You are responsible for what happens here. 
  • You should come to class prepared to take over. You should start to form opinions by yourself and with other students before the class begins. I hope to hear you talking in the cafeteria, halls, and homerooms about the assignments in this class. 
  • I want this class to be a community of learners. In addition to academics, you must learn to work with other people. Here, you can move away from your established friendships, meet people whom you might not socialize with, talk with them about important issues, and learn that they are thoughtful, sensitive, and interesting people. 
  • You must treat each other with respect. I should warn you that, if you ridicule each other, I will be quite angry. I will not tolerate anyone making fun of a less able student. Remember that all of us have academic weak spots. Frequently, the bravest person in the room is the student who must work hardest to comprehend the material.
  • I am tyrannical about cheating. If I catch you cheating, I will put a description of the incident in your permanent file.  I may call the high schools you've applied to. I do not accept the excuse that someone is under a lot of pressure. 
  • You need a study buddy, someone to call if you are absent and need an assignment.
  • You always have the right, even the obligation, to know why we are doing something. I will try to remember to explain the rationale for everything we do -- but if I forget, ask.
  • I take careful attendance and will call your parents or guardians if you are missing class or homework. I take this seriouslyand so should you.
  • Your homework grade will be a straight percentage of homework completed on days you were in attendance. In other words, if you are absent, you don't need to see me about make-up work for daily homework. If you don't miss more than 10 percent of homework, you will get an A for "daily work," which counts as much as a full paper.  However, you must keep up with the reading and all major papers.
  • If you are not turning in a paper or an assignment, write a note explaining why not. Use a full sheet of paper. Your explanation of missed work helps me with record keeping.  Also, I'll know whether to worry about you. If you didn't do the homework because you didn't understand the directions, that is a teaching problem for me. It is not the same as if you didn't do the homework because you had a fight with your best friend.
  • You should actively participate in this class. It isn't enough to sit politely and absorb other people's thinking. You must contribute to this class. Everyone will read papers aloud. Almost everyone dreads it.
  • If you think of yourself as shy, you should practice speaking in a safe environment, like this one. You'll be grateful for the practice when you get to high school and college.
  • Sometimes students complain that I am intimidating at first because I occasionally respond to a student's remark by bluntly stating, "No, that's wrong." Students are horrified. But I don't think being wrong is so terrible. You need to be wrong sometimes, or you are not taking enough risks. I prefer that you be daringly wrong rather than timidly right. Take intellectual risks in this class -- and in all your classes.
  • I can try my best to set up educational experiences for you, but in the end you must decide whether you will take responsibility for your own education. You are not in school for your parents or your grades. You are here to become an educated person. Your attitude toward education will transform when you understand that you are doing this for yourself.
  • This class is one of those situations where everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others. While I will assume you are responsible, I still retain the teacher's role. I still set the academic standards, decide on the grades, report to the parents, and set the pace for the class. I just wanted you to know that I am not ambivalent about that role.
I look forward to learning from you.
 
"Learning to Discipline" by Margaret Metzger in Phi Delta Kappan, September 2002 (Vol. 84, #1, p. 77-84)

Copyright 2008 Marshall Memo


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Alice Deal Middle School | 3815 Fort Drive, NW | Washington | DC | 20016