March 22 - April 9

I am a former high school and youth coach. Eighteen years on the sideline, court, or track, which included March Madness and, of course, the NCAA College Tournament. Cinderella stories, busted brackets, rooting for the home team (on the rare occasion they made it to the Big Dance), and waiting for “One Shining Moment” are a part of my life.

As a former language arts teacher, “Madness” in my classroom was using this time as a theme for writing competitions. I also have seen -- even on college campuses -- brackets that determine the best novel of all time. Again, a wonderful part of my life.

The last few years -- with the exception of last year -- March Madness included the beginning of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs). It is a federal requirement that helps the state of Minnesota measure learning and growth. It is a small measure of how Spectrum Middle School measures success. Over the years, my staff and families have collaborated to have students do their very best while balancing an avoidance of stress or text anxiety. MCAs are important and they should be taken seriously, but it is just one of many assessments that happen in a year.

In collaboration this year, please be sure your daughter or son has been getting good sleep, that s/he is encouraged to do her/his very best, and that s/he has a charged Chromebook with a book to read when done. We really appreciate the support.

Finally, the madness of this school year has included refining our grading practices to try and better represent learning, especially with all the learning modes that have occurred. A piece we are working on still and will be throughout next year is communicating that learning progress. This includes the use of Infinite Campus and Schoology. Learning is a process that takes time and multiple opportunities. Sometimes the pace is slow and sometimes fast, and this is often hard to communicate with families, especially as this involves positive stumbling. Please know that we are doing our very best and that this can be another opportunity for us on which to collaborate in the future. The Practices (homework) are important to complete as they prepare the learner for the final performance/assessment. This is where the communcation and support are needed. By working with our families on the best ways of communicating, we will all be able to support the student on the highest level possible.

In the end, while working through the “Madness” of middle school, it is so good to know that we are doing this together. Have a great break!

Weeks at a Glance

  • Monday, March 22: No School - Teacher Professional Development Day
  • Tuesday, March 23, & Wednesday, March 24 - MCA Reading Assessment
  • Thursday, March 25 - MCA Reading Assessment Make-up Day
  • Monday, March 29 - Monday, April 5 - Spring Break: No School