Happy Fall, Bullpup Families!
We are off to a fantastic start to the school year! The changes we put in place for this year – forming Houses, teaching good citizenship, returning to lockers, going to uniformly semester-long classes, separating the grades more, and emphasizing “catching them being good” – have had the desired effect. The school as a whole is more calm, more focused, and generally full of good cheer. Problem behaviors are down, and grades are up. This all will produce, we believe, better learning and, in turn, better test scores in the spring. I’m so excited to see the growth of these wonderful young people!
Ski and Ride
I’m sorry to announce that Ski and Ride will not happen this year. We worked very hard to try to convince Schweitzer to allow us to come on Fridays, but they could not or would not accommodate us. I’m very disappointed that they couldn’t flex a little to serve their local school. My non-negotiable was that it had to happen on our Early Release days. Given our test scores last year, I simply cannot abide sacrificing 8 full Wednesdays of instruction. Although we had academic expectations for S & R participants, the reality was that S & R days had become, pretty much without exception, “review days” for the students who were in school. As professional and excellent as our teaching staff is, it’s impossible to move forward with instruction when there are 150 students missing in random clusters (one period they may be missing 5, the next 15, etc.). I was uncomfortable giving up Fridays for the same reason, to be honest, but could barely justify it if we had four consecutive days of learning leading up to those Fridays. I know that S & R was much beloved and hope you understand that we really tried to make it work within the context of primary mission: to educate.
Continuing our practice from last year, we will not be sending out paper progress reports this year. We believe that printing reams of paper, wrapping them in even more paper, and then sending them out in the snail mail is an unnecessary and wasteful practice when parents have continuous, 24/7 access to their student’s real-time grades online. We encourage you to check your student’s progress on Schoology frequently. If you don’t know how to do that, please reach out and we can set you up. As you review your student’s grades on Schoology, keep in mind that we have adopted a new grading scheme this year. You will now see traditional letter grades, not the 1 through 4 score. Again, if you have any questions please reach out or attend a Coffee Klatch.
PTC's will be held on Wednesday, November 15th and Thursday the 16th. We're trying something new this year and having scheduled conferences with Houses from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day, and then normal, arena-style, drop-in conferences in the gym from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. If you are not contacted to attend a scheduled conference, please do drop by the gym to conference with all of your student's teachers starting at 4 p.m. Also, remember that both of those days are Early Release for students, as is the Friday after them.
You are cordially invited to come to SMS on Tuesday, January 23rd, to have coffee with the Principal, hear about what’s happening at SMS, and ask any questions you might have. This will be the second of four quarterly Coffee Klatches. The others will be on March 26th and May 14th. I look forward to chatting with you about this great school!
Sincerely, Geoff Penrose -- Principal