Color block logo of Deal Alice Deal Weekly Bulletin

November 24, 2008
"Think globally. Listen compassionately. Act inclusively."
Thought for the Week

"The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention."

-- Oscar Wilde


Bell Schedule
 
Monday - Bell II - Locker clean out
Tuesday - Bell I
Wednesday - Bell II Thanksgiving Assembly
STAY INFORMED!
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International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program
 
Teachers are working on a number of different IB MYP activities. Curriculum cross-walks have been submitted and are being reviewed and analyzed. As we compare the IB MYP subject objectives with the DCPS standards, we will be looking for any gaps in the curriculum. For instance,a gap may be discovered when the IB MYP subject calls for teaching a particular objective, but DCPS has no corresponding
standard (or vice versa).

Teachers have already started determining which  IB MYP units will be implemented for this advisory. Interdisciplinary units are also underway.

Beginning in December, each team's curriculum masters will start developing school-wide Areas of Interaction plans.

When the entire staff gathers at the end of December, Areas of Interaction will be further explored, and we will devise structures to guide student growth. While this might seem like a lot - well, it is a lot - together, we will build the best MYP in the country!

Upcoming Activities!


 Wednesday
Student Council Thanksgiving Assembly
 Team Aztecs workshop with Larry Bell 
 
Thursday & Friday
Thanksgiving holiday

December 1st
Focus Walk -period 3

December 2nd
Mid-Advisory Progress Reports sent home
Picture make-up day

 December 3rd
6th grade transition coffee chat #2 with Ms. Kim, 9-10 am, in Rm N101
Olympians and Ms. Mostoller's period 1 class on the DC Trolley Tour

December 4th
"New to Deal" teachers meeting
Braveheart on the DC Trolley Tour

December 5th
Geography Bee competition
LSRT meeting, 7:30 am
Curriculum masters meeting

December 8th
Parent Teacher Conference day
(students not in school)
 
December 9th
Team Odyssey workshop with Larry Bell 
 
December 10th
High School Application Workshop with the counselors, 6:30 pm

December 11th
Department chairs meeting
Winter Concert, 7 pm

December 13th
Holiday Greens Sale

December 15th
Focus Walk - period 2

December 16th

Deal Open House #2

December 18th
Focus Walk - period 6
Faculty meeting


December 19th
Student Council Winter Assembly
Last day of school for students (Winter Holiday)
Curriculum masters meeting, 8:10 am

December 22nd & 23rd
Staff development for Deal teachers

January 5th
School resumes after Winter Break!

January 7th
6th grade transition coffee chat #3 with Ms. Kim, 9-10 am, in Rm N101

January 8th
Focus Walk - period 7

January 9th

LSRT meeting, 7:30 am

January 14th & 15th
DC BAS #2

January 15th
Faculty meeting

January 16th
End of 2nd Advisory
Martin Luther King, Jr., Assembly

January 19th
Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday

January 20th
Inauguration Day - holiday

January 22nd
Student Council Awards Assembly

January 23rd
Record Keeping Day,
12:15 dismissal
Periods: 1, 2, 6, 4, 5
 
Janaury 26th
 Team Braveheart
Smithsonian Museum of American Art classroom visits,  re:  writing about art
 
January 29th
TeamBraveheart
 field trip to Smithsonian to study 10 artworks
 
January 30th
2nd Advisory report cards issued

April 3rd
Record Keeping Day,
12:15 dismissal
Periods: 1, 3, 7, 4, 5

May 26th
Reception at Smithsonian Museum of American Art for Team Braveheart art/writing stories books
Message from Principal Kim
Principal KimThe West Wing opens for classes on Monday!

During the weekend, DCPS OPFM & Heery Construction moved us
out of some of the old classrooms and into new classrooms in the now completed West Wing!

At this point 2/3 of our classes are held in new rooms and we are on schedule for completion of modernization in July.  I am so excited to see progress unfolding before out eyes!  You will be just as excited when you come during parent teacher conferences on December 8th!

Big thanks to Mr. Greenhill, Mr. Gibson, & Mr. Dacoba for working through the weekend to make this transition go so smoothly.  Also thanks to Mr. Kirschenbaum, Ms. Hovancsek, Ms. Kinzer, Mr. Milton, and Mr. Brandenburg for coming in on Sunday to begin setting up their classrooms for students!  The teachers and students have demonstrated flexibility and positive spirit with the move!

The holiday season has arrived already -- this school year is just flying away!  If you celebrate by decorating trees or hanging wreaths or garlands, please purchase them at the Deal Green Sale!  The dedicated PTA volunteers will be selling these fresh green items for the next two weekends outside the school.  Please come and help them sell or help by making a purchase!

Finally, have a warm and joyous Thanksgiving.  I will be giving thanks for this outstanding school community -- excellent teachers, willing students, and supportive families.

Principal Kim


Weekly News

Thanks!
  • Thanks to the many non-moving teachers who stayed after school to help your colleagues pack up their classrooms!
  • Thanks to the custodial team for their extra efforts to keep our school clean throughout this process!
  • Thanks to the many student helpers who helped teachers pack after school and during the lunch periods!
  • Thanks to our project manager Mr. Ron Skiles, Mr. Keith Jones, Mr. Ron Rouse, and Mr. Johnny Longfellow for keeping our students and teachers a priority through this entire modernization effort!
Locker Clean Out & Move!
  • We will clean out lockers today!  Teachers please inspect each individual locker.  There should be no stray papers!  Once students have cleaned out their lockers, they can organize their binders in your homerooms.
  • We ask the the following non-homeroom teachers to report to the teachers below in assisting them with this morning's locker move.
    • Mr. Brandenburg - Mr. Jenkins
    • Ms. Hampton - Ms. Washington
    • Ms. Wells - Ms. Ortiz
    • Mr. Kirschenbaum - Ms. Sonick
    • Ms. Kinzer - Mr. Mbayu
    • Ms. Hovancsek - Mr. Ngwa
    • Mr. Mitchell -  Ms. Kelley
    • Ms. Mostoller - Ms. Brown
    • Ms. Simpson-Wayne - Mr. Brecher
    • Ms. Sweeney - Mr. Jackson
    • Mr. Koplowitz - Mr. Frye
    • Ms. Bruce - Ms. Arnold
  • We ask that the following people monitor the hallways, bathroom, and trash collection on the following floors.
    • 1st Floor - Ms. Overby, Ms. Washington, Ms. Hernandez
    • 2nd Floor - Ms. Wang, Mr. Santiago, Mr. Turner
    • 3rd Floor - Ms. Spann, Mr. Winn-Ritzenburg, Ms. McFarland
  • Thanks for your cooperation!!!
Team Leader's Meeting
  • Canceled this Tuesday!  See you next Tuesday!
LAYC After-School Program
  • The LAYC After-School Program will be having an open house "meet and greet dinner" with parents of students enrolled in the After-School Program today from 6-7 pm in room N101.  This is a chance for program staff to meet parents, chat about the program, and get parents' input.

Non-Perishable Food Drive

  • Remember, this is your final week to donate non-perishable food items.  Please drop off your donation with your homeroom teachers.  Help to support our local community through your donations.

Student Council Thanksgiving Assembly

  • On Wednesday, the Student Council will sponsor Deal's Thanksgiving Assembly.  Homeroom teachers, please bring your non-perishable food donations to the assembly for presentation. 

ThinkLink

  • Teachers, a color copy of the classes you created on ThinkLink for the last administered DC-BAS (Test A) is in the Counseling Suite (room 113). See Ms. Hernandez.

Trees, Trees, Trees

  • It's that time of the year again! Purchase wonderful holiday trees and greens from the Deal PTA and support our school.  The PTA will be selling trees and greens at the school on two weekends in December.
    • Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 6-7
    • Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 13-14

The annual tree & greens sale is a tradition for our PTA -- make it a tradition in your family too!

High School Application Update

  • 8th grade students may pick up applications for the following schools from Ms. McFarland's office (Room 113).
     
    School Name                                     Due Date School Without Walls                          December 5
    Banneker Academic                             January 30
    McKinley Technological                        January 23
    Duke Ellington School of the Arts           TBA
    Cardozo Trans Tech                            March 15
    Phelps Architectural Construction
    & Engineering                                     January 28
     
    If you have questions, see Ms. McFarland during lunch or after school.
  • 8th grade homeroom teachers will give tips on how to prepare for your high school interview on Monday and Wednesday during warm-up time.

  • On Wednesday, December 10th, at 6:30 pm, the Counseling Department will conduct an information session about the high school application process. There will be details about the specific application requirements of the specialized DC Public High Schools.

Capital City Jazz Project

  • Alice Deal Middle School was selected this year by Ben Hall, director of music for DC Public Schools, to participate as only one of four DCPS schools in The Capitol Jazz Project.  The Capitol Jazz Project is a partnership between Washington Performing Arts Society (WPAS) and DCPS, in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center.  This collaboration supports the study of music through jazz instruction, drawn from the new DC Music Standards and a jazz curriculum created by Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center.

The dates for the upcoming workshops are  Dec. 3, Jan. 13 & 27, and Feb. 12 (the rest of the dates will be determined and posted). There will be two workshops on each day, the first during 5th period and the second during 6th period. Students have been instructed to complete their work early.

Teachers, please keep the list of students that was placed in your mailbox for all Jazz-project related events.
Still Going to Cleveland?
  • Students who are traveling with the Department of Music, please be advised that the $100 deposit was due on November 6th.  If you haven't paid yet, please contact Mr. Jackson or Mr. Frye to remain on the list.

Extra-duty Assignment

  • If you are responsible for a non-athletic club or extra-duty activity that meets either before or after school, then please pick-up an extra-duty authorization form from the small table in Mrs. Streeter's office, fill it out, and return it to her mailbox by COB Monday.
Make-Up Pictures
  • On Tuesday, December 2, Blanton Studios will be taking make-up pictures in the gym.  Only the following students should take make-ups:
    •  Students who were absent on the initial portrait day.
    • Students who did not purchase packages on the initial portrait day.
    • Students who want to have their portraits retaken. (Students must return original portrait envelopes with all portraits enclosed.)

Any student fitting these criteria should pick up a portrait brochure from the main office prior to portrait day.

 

Before & After School Activities This Week ...
 
 Monday AM
  • Concert Band, 7:45 am
  • Ms. Stanley's Reading Group, 7 - 8:30 am
  • Small Choral Ensemble, 8 am

Monday PM

  • Show choir, 3:30-4:15 pm
  • Indoor Track Practice, 3:00 - 5 pm
  • Debate team, 3:20 - 4:30 pm
  • Rugby, 3:30 - 5 pm
  • Girls' Soccer practice
  • Yoga, 3:30-4:30 pm, RM G3
  • Ms. Stanley's Reading Group, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
  • Cheerleading practice, 3:30 - 5 pm 
  • Boys/Grirls' Basketball practice, 3:30 - 5 pm
  • Student Council officers meeting,  3:20 - 4 pm, RM 207
  • Tutoring with Ms. Mason, 3:30 - 4:30 pm, RM 211
  • Science tutoring with Ms. Hampton, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
  • LAYC tutoring, 3:30 - 5:30 pm
  • MathCounts, 3:25 - 4:45 pm, RM 105
  • Tutoring with Ms. Brown & Ms. Bruce, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
Tuesday AM
  • Jazz Band, 7:45 am
  • Concert Choir, 7:45 am
  • Ms. Stanley's Reading Group, 7-8:30 am
 
Tuesday PM
  • Student Government meeting, 3:20 pm, RM 207
  • Human Rights Club meeting, 3:15 pm, RM N101
  • Ms. Stanley's Reading Group, 3:30 -4:30 pm
  • Drumline, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
  • International Cooking Club, 3:15 - 4:30 pm
  • Boys' Soccer Practice
  • Art Club, 3:20-4:20 pm, Ms. Washington's classroom
  • Boys/Girls' Basketball practice
  • LAYC tutoring, 3:30 - 5:30 pm
 
Wednesday AM
  • Jazz  Band, 7:45 am
  • Small Choral Ensemble, 8 am
  • Ms. Stanley's Reading Group, 7 - 8:30 am

Wednesday PM

  • LAYC tutoring, 3:30 - 5:30 pm

Thursday and Friday

  •  Thanksgiving Holiday
As always, students should only be at school with parent permission!
Food for thought...

Skill Deficits that Underlie Student Behavior Problems

            In this thought-provoking Kappan article, Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor Ross Greene juxtaposes two very different philosophies about children's behavior:

-          Kids do well if they want to.

-          Kids do well if they can.

Teachers and parents with the first philosophy assume that misbehaving kids aren't doing the right thing because they don't want to. When the child withdraws, sulks, whines, lies, plays hooky, screams, swears, spits, hits, kicks, or destroys property, these adults assume volition and choice. Common adult reactions: He just wants attention. He just wants his own way. He's manipulating us. He's not motivated. He's making bad choices. He has a bad attitude. His brother was the same way. Common solution strategies: motivate the miscreants; give them incentives; reward them if they behave; punish them if they continue to misbehave.

            Parents and teachers with the second philosophy assume that misbehaving students lack the skills to do the right thing. With this philosophy, none of the blaming reactions above make sense. The problem isn't a lack of motivation, not knowing right from wrong, or insufficient punishment. Instead, the adult challenge is to figure out which skills the child needs to be taught to behave more appropriately.

            Greene proceeds to identify several clusters of skill deficits that are quite common in troubled students:

            Difficulty reflecting on several thoughts or ideas simultaneously (disorganized); difficulty considering a range of solutions to a problem; difficulty considering the likely outcomes or consequences of one's actions (impulsive). Most two-year-olds have these deficits - and some don't outgrow them. School-age children with lagging skills in this area are going to have real problems when they face problems and frustrations. They can't sort through their thoughts and figure out what's frustrating them; they can't think of more than one solution; they impulsively act on the first solution that pops into their head, which is often the worst one; and their frustration and acting-out behavior escalates. "Clearly, we have some skills to teach," says Greene wryly. "But if the school discipline program emphasizes formal consequences, they're not going to get taught. Consequences only remind kids of what we don't want them to do." They already know that, says Greene. "They need something else from us."

            Difficulty expressing concerns, needs, or thoughts in words. Students with developmental lags in this area have trouble telling others what's bothering them and what they need. Life is a lot more difficult, says Greene, when you can't verbalize I don't feel like talking, Something's the matter, I don't know what to do, I need a break, or I don't like that. "The reminder to 'use your words' won't help at all if a kid doesn't have the words," he says. "It's the lack of words that often sets the stage for challenging behavior" - verbal aggression like "I hate you!" "Shut up!" "Leave me alone!" or physical acting out like shoving, hitting, throwing things, or bolting from the classroom. "Can kids be taught to articulate their concerns, needs, and thoughts more effectively?" asks Greene. "Absolutely. But not until adults understand that it's the lack of these skills that is setting the stage for challenging behavior."

            Difficulty shifting gears from an emotional response to thinking rationally about a situation - Children who haven't developed this ability tend to fall apart when they are embarrassed in front of their classmates, get a bad grade, aren't picked for a team, or feel socially excluded. "These kids may actually feel themselves 'heating up,'" says Greene, "but often aren't able to stem the emotional tide until later, when the emotions have subsided and rational thought has returned. Naturally, the heating-up process will be greatly intensified if adults or peers respond in a way that adds fuel to the fire."

            Difficulty seeing the "grays"; concrete, literal, black-and-white thinking; difficulty deviating from rules, routines, or the original plan; difficulty handling unpredictability, ambiguity, uncertainty, or novelty; difficulty shifting from an original idea or solution; difficulty adapting to changes in plan - Most very young children are this way, but school-age kids who don't develop a tolerance for ambiguity have the misfortune, says Greene, of being "black and white thinkers stuck in a gray world." An unexpected substitute teacher, a rescheduled field trip, or another child sitting in "my seat" in the cafeteria can trigger a strong response. "Can black-and-white thinkers be helped to think more flexibly?" asks Greene. "Most definitely - as long as adults recognize that it's hard to teach kids to be more flexible by being inflexible ourselves."

            The key, he says, is seeing these lagging skills not as excuses but as explanations for children's misbehavior. When we see them this way, "the door to helping swings wide open."

            "Once you have a decent handle on a kid's lagging skills and unsolved problems," he continues, "you've taken a major step in the right direction because the kids' challenging episodes are now highly predictable, which is good news if you're a teacher and have a class full of 25 other students." Having figured out the skill deficits of high-risk children, it's easy to predict the triggers that will send them into a tantrum. A child's difficulty during circle time, at recess, or working with a particular classmate - all of these are clues that can lead a perceptive teacher to specific skill deficits that can be fixed.

"A lot of adults nominate the word 'no' as a trigger," says Greene. "But it's not specific enough. It's what the adult is saying 'no' to - going to the bathroom (yet again), sharpening a pencil (yet again), excessive talking or teasing - that helps adults know the specific problem they need to solve (so they don't have to keep saying 'no' so often)."

Greene concludes by reminding us of schools' standard responses to misbehavior, which he doesn't think work at all well for students with lagging skills:

-        Telling the child that we don't approve of the behavior and suggesting alternatives.

-        Natural consequences such as embarrassment, being scolded, being disliked, etc.

-        Logical consequences such as being kept in from recess, put on detention, or suspended.

"My view," Greene concludes, "is that kids who haven't responded to natural consequences don't need more consequences; they need adults who are knowledgeable about how challenging kids come to be challenging, who can identify the lagging skills and unsolved problems that are setting the stage for maladaptive behavior, and who know how to teach those skills and help solve those problems. We've learned a lot about children's brains in the last 30 years. It's time for our actions to reflect our knowledge."

 

"Kids Do Well If They Can," by Ross Greene in Phi Delta Kappan, November 2008 (Vol. 90, #3, p. 160-167), no e-link available; this article is an excerpt from Greene's new book, Lost at School (Scribner, 2008).

Copyright 2008 Marshall Memo LLC


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