Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dear Middle Level Families,

It was a treat to meet at least twenty of you during Monday evening's first Parent Group meeting of the school year. Though High School soccer and Packer games are not an ideal evening for a meeting, we so appreciate many taking time to network, share ideas, and ask questions to help us continue to improve our communication and focus our efforts to support your child's learning!
Please use this LINK to review highlights / information shared with the group Monday evening.

In anticipation of a Parent Seminar scheduled for late October, we would appreciate knowing the topics of interest to our parents. Please take a few minutes to share your preferences using this Google Survey. Thanks to Chelsea Bellville, our School Social Worker, for pulling this tool together for us to gather family input and plan for a meaningful evening of learning.

Enjoy these sunny and crisp cool evenings!


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dear Hudson Middle Families,

Today your middle school student will be thinking, learning and setting goals - a personal goal, an academic goal, and a collaboration goal. Please take time to share your personal experiences in setting goals, steps you took to reach those goals, setbacks, failures, and successes. Ask your student about the goals they've set and help them identify people who can help them reach those goals. For inspiration, enjoy this clip: (Thanks, Ms. Elliott!)   Pursuit of Happiness Video Clip 

Our entire Middle School Learning Community is focusing on developing and strengthening our collaboration skills this year. Here's a link to the Collaboration Rubric we will be using in EVERY curricular area to support students reflecting on their current habits and focusing on next steps as they become strong and positive collaborators. We encourage you to use the language of collaboration at home as you remind your son or daughter to listen for understanding, consider another point of view, and respectfully offer their perspective.

We are particularly grateful for the work of a collaborative team of adults here at the middle school who have put together what we hope will be an inspiring day for students and staff. Ms. Elliott, our Instructional Coach, our SMART Goal Team (Mr. Deleon, Ms. Benjamin, Ms. Hackbarth, Mrs. Ellstrom, Mr. Wickstrom, Mr. Yell, Mrs. Bendlin, Ms. Watters, Mrs. Heier, Mrs. Luedtke, Ms. Halstad, Ms. Cummings, Mr. Hagerman, Mrs. Rehmus), our Tech Integration Coach, Mrs. Dressel have combined efforts and the result is uplifting and encouraging! Another team- Mrs. Gagnon, Ms. Johnson (Nutrition Services), and several Fuel Up To Play 60 student leaders have added a healthy component to the process and we're excited to be part of the results at the end of the school day!

As you review the Collaboration Rubric, you'll note how transferable and applicable these skills are to ALL of life. In fact, I am reminded of the importance of these skills in problem-solving. For example, when your child shares a frustration with you about an experience (an unkind student, an impatient teacher, a sarcastic bus driver, or a disrespectful encounter), these are the steps we want to encourage our children to take in solving the problem and strengthening the community:
1) Presume Positive Intention - oftentimes the person may be hurting about something else or may be frustrated by something in their own lives.
2) Talk to another supportive adult about the situation; work with the supportive adult to develop a message to share with the other person (student, teacher, bus driver, etc.)
3) Deliver the message with respectful courage (ask the supportive adult to accompany you and / or share your message in a written letter)

Taking these three very important steps conveys to the other person you care about them, you expect more from them, and you trust things will change. These steps also strengthen your child's ability to resolve difficulties in the future to develop strong and positive relationships, and gives the other person the opportunity to ask forgiveness and make changes. I have a very small sign in my office that reads: Prepare the child for the path--not the path for the child. Collaboration takes courage, patience, and compassion for the other. When we empower our children to be thoughtful and courageous in the face of difficulty, our entire learning community becomes stronger and more positive.

Most sincerely,


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Dear Middle School Families,

We were thrilled (and somewhat unprepared for) 97 participants in our Chromebook Orientation evening. Many thanks to Nancy Dressel, Nancy Toll, Jenna Eckholm and our student helpers for the interactive learning experience in our classroom learning lab. Thanks to your feedback, we will be providing future opportunities for questions about technology, Chromebooks, Google Apps and other learning tools our students often understand more fully than we (parents and teachers) do. Please consider joining your Parent Group Monday evening, September 28 at 6:30 in our Media Center. You will have an opportunity to ask questions and learn more!

Spectacular weather has meant more time outdoors for our students, whether measuring for a school garden improvement, playing soccer during physical education or enjoying a recess break after lunch. Unfortunately, the heavy rains today (Thursday) resulted in a few leaks in our gymnasium, art rooms, office, and tech ed classroom. If you happened to be in our learning community, you may have observed the flexibility and optimism, sharing of space, and patience of this amazing community of learners. I continue to be impressed by the spirit and enthusiasm of this team.

Speaking of enthusiasm, one of our students e-mailed me about a terrific idea, demonstrating applying her learning to a real-life problem-solving venture. Stay tuned for more information about electronics and repairs. And KUDOS to so many families for responding to the invitation to share photos of your son or daughter spreading hope through good deeds this past week. Check out Facebook for photos and ideas for our next challenge!

It's so good to be in-the-middle!
Mrs. Ann Mitchell

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dear Hudson Middle Families,

Fabulous spirit has returned to the building with the arrival of our students this morning! I am enjoying meeting several sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students and getting re-acquainted with several Houlton alum who are now in 7th and 8th grade!

One of my goals was to visit every classroom before Friday. It's mid-day Tuesday and I'm half-way to my goal! Along the way I've met some wonderful people and I'm learning so many interesting things about our students! I just left a classroom where the teacher was practicing saying each student's name accurately. In the midst of her attempts, a student responded, "You did it! Good job!" That's the kind of response we need to hear OFTEN as we take risks, make mistakes, and learn from each other.

Such a small world we live in...I also just learned Ms. Engstrom Yde (our Gifted & Talented Resource Coach) is the daughter of someone who used to babysit me! Sarah's Grandmother was one of our family's FAVORITE people in the world. She had an amazing garden and worked as a nurse in the Somerset School District. Discovering connections like these brings added joy to our work, doesn't it?

At the end of the day, these are the messages I plan to share with students and staff. Please consider sharing your thoughts with your middle-level learner as they anticipate their second day of the year tomorrow:
1) Walk with you head held high and make eye contact with others in the hallways (advice from one of my older children to a younger sibling)
2) Ask at least three questions every day (it shows you care about learning and people)
3) Thank your teachers for the time and energy and care they give to their work

We've started a terrific year today! Here's a question to ponder (and please post a response!):

What do people do to help you feel at ease?

Mrs. Ann Mitchell