While I enjoy the quiet of a nice snow day in the middle of the winter, I enjoy them less as the temperature's rise and the temperaments fall. But nevertheless, tomorrow is our last day and the long summer break begins for students following the 11:00 AM dismissal. While I know they will all be sad...I think they will be ok.
It has been a wonderful school year and I appreciate all of the positive comments folks have been sharing with us about their experience at Stony Brook this year. Specifically, many of the 8th graders and their parents have been waxing poetic while reflecting as their time at Stony Brook draws to an end...my favorites have been the occasional reference as to how middle school was not as bad as they feared it would be three short years ago...I'll put that in the positive column at any rate. It is indeed a roller coaster as the adults are never really sure what the adolescents will bring to the table on any given day, but as the old adage goes, "the only thing constant is change." It is always sad to say goodbye to the 8th graders, but we are also eager to meet the new 6th graders for next year. It is indeed our
own little circle of life...
If all things go as planned and not as they do for mice and men, schedules for next year will be available in the iParent portal tomorrow around dismissal followed shortly by the final report cards of the year. Yippee! As always, we will continue to take excellent care of everyone even if they are convinced that none of their friends are in their classes. We have reviewed the schedules carefully to make sure everyone is placed in the appropriate classes, but sometimes mistakes can get passed us as we are eyeballing the nearly 650 schedules before us. Please reach out to your child's guidance counselor in the event that your child does not have the correct class listed on his or her schedule. Before doing that, however, make sure you are reading the schedule correctly. First, even while looking under the
2017-2018 school year tab, all of the grade, homeroom and locker information will still reflect this year's information until we officially roll over all of the data after uploading the state reports in the middle of the summer. So, that will all be corrected en masse in the middle of the summer. Secondly, you will all see some blanks on the schedules...they are not really empty but contain hidden classes...not really it is just that we primarily operate on a trimester schedule and you can't see both trimester and quarter classes at the same time. As the default view in iPass is for Trimester 1 or T1, in order to see your child's quarter classes (Art & Engineering or 6th Grade FLEX) you will need to select the appropriate quarter from the drop down menu. Unfortunately, at this time, iPass is not able to reflect both a Trimester and a quarter schedule in the same view. Have no fear, the students will know where they need to be once we get started in
a few short months. They pick it up much faster than any of the adults. So, in short, there are no real blanks in the schedules...change the view to a different quarter and or trimester and you will see the missing classes...if you want, you can say some Harry Potter type rhyme to reveal the other classes and make it feel like a spell...whatever works for you and is less irritating to your child at this point as he or she breathes down your neck to get a glimpse of their future.
Recently, the summer reading suggestions were updated and shared with us. They will also be posted on our website; but for those of you lucky subscribers...you get to see it here first! The books on this list have been selected and reviewed by the staff of the English department, the school librarians and the Curriculum Coordinator. They follow the guidelines of recommended books set forth by the American Library Association. Students should select one title to read over the summer in preparation for the start of the school year. In the fall, English Language Arts teacher will have a follow up assignment for students to complete in class.
For those of you transitioning to another school next year, I still have information for you about the future. I don't want to lose you yet...Ms. McHugh, 6-12 math curriculum coordinator, shared some important updates regarding math changes at WA for the future. My first thought was...very similar to yours...why are we sharing this now...then I was reminded that some folks look for additional fun ways to build math skills over the summer. So, before registering for the Geometry Camp this summer pay attention to this information (specifically the second and third items):
WA Math Department Updates and Reminders
- Algebra 1/Algebra 2 Transition- Please remember that a student's grade in Accelerated Algebra 1 or Algebra 1 Part B is used to determine eligibility for Geometry as well as for Algebra 2. Their performance in Geometry will also be used in the recommendation process, assessing readiness based on the Characteristics of an Honors Student on the Westford Academy Math Department website.
- Outside Courses and Opt-Out Testing - Courses taken outside of Westford Public Schools do not replace the courses offered at Westford Academy. Grades from outside courses will not be used to determine placement or eligibility for courses offered at WA. Additionally, beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, students will no longer have the option of testing out of courses at WA, including Geometry Honors, Intro to Programming, and Java Honors.
- Geometry Honors - Starting in the 2018-2019 school year,all students must take a Geometry course at WA either their Freshmen or Sophomore year. Students must earn a 95 in Geometry CP1 or an 83 in Geometry Honors at Westford Academy to be recommended for Trig & Pre-Calc Honors.
- Doubling Up - Students have the option to double up their math courses in either Algebra 1B with Geometry their Freshmen year or Geometry with Algebra 2 their Sophomore year. Doubling up is not recommended by the Math Department, particularly in a student's Freshmen year, as students are encouraged to explore their passions and interests by taking electives. When possible, students are encouraged to wait to double up their Sophomore year instead. Students are expected to take a math course each year, even if they choose to take two math classes in one year.
- Algebra 2 Enrollment - Starting in the 2018-2019 school year, Algebra 2 enrollment will be limited to students in grades 10-12. We believe the material presented in this course is more developmentally appropriate for students in these levels. Freshmen who are particularly interested in furthering their Math education are encouraged to enroll in Exploring Computer Science. The collaboration and problem solving opportunities in this course are designed to help prepare students for success in both college and career in the STEM field and beyond. The application of mathematical logical reasoning in this course will be extremely beneficial in the growth and development of all students.
Reading and Math...the two things that every middle school student dreams about doing during the summer. Instagram is full of students longing for problems to solve and equations to craft during those long dog days of summer. If that does not speak to you or your child, I have also included some of our local Westford Parks & Recreation information at the end of this update.
Speaking of the end, I will try not to drag this out any further as many of you are now feeling like it is a Friday night rather than a Tuesday. But before I go, the parents of the FAME organization have also asked me to share some of important information as well as a short survey that will help them continue to best support all of our music students. Please see their message at this link: FAME Newsletter 2017
Have a wonderful summer! If you fear you will miss my silly missives over the next few months, you can always access the archives and pretend it is a re-run and then explain to someone what a re-run was back in the day. I would, however, not recommend binge reading too many updates at a time as I cannot attest for the overall affect of reading too many in one sitting.
May your summer be full of rest and relaxation,
Dr. Christopher Chew
Stony Brook School
Westford, MA 01886
SUMMER TENNIS: Westford Parks & Recreation partners with the Marcus Lewis Tennis Extension Program (MLTEP) to offer the highest quality instruction and programming. The MLTEP, a non-proft that was formed by the Marcus Lewis Tennis Center (MLTC), has provided high-level instruction to area communities for nearly 20 years. The instructors are specifically trained in contemporary methods of teaching and many have decades of experience. The nonprofit MLTEP utilizes resources from the MLTC, however as a nonprofit, the pricing is significantly lower than a commercial facility. With two indoor facilities in Acton, this will provide Westford residents with year-round opportunities to play tennis.