Nov. 15 - 26

I love psychology: I love learning about why people do what they do, think what they think, say what they say. I love learning how we are unique yet oh, so similar.

A psychological definition of learning I use from Dr. Steven Katz is that learning is the process through which experience causes permanent change in knowledge or behavior. There is a new “status quo” in thinking and practice, and the well-used example is that once one has learned to ride a bike, it is never, ever forgotten. Learning to ride a bike involved a process with time for achievement. In other words, one attempt/practice with effort was not enough, yet it was so valuable for growth in being able to ride that bike. Also, there probably was some discomfort (could have been some blood even) so even more effort was needed to build upon the previous growth and overcome the discomfort. Practice, practice, practice over time started producing results and then finally gained success. Now, unless there has been head trauma, one can get on a bike and ride, even if years later from when it was learned. We all had unique experiences in how we learned to ride that bike, but we all have earned the same outcome and can enjoy the experience of the wind in our face as we peddle around a lake, a neighborhood, or a city. This is the final blog seeking feedback from you at the (not quite the) start of the year. There has been a very good response rate, so please do so one more time.

At Spectrum Middle School (SMS), we are getting our learners ready for high school. Your comments help make this happen. This collaboration is the shared partnership (Feedback #2), and that partnership helps us achieve our purpose (Feedback #1). What’s next is to take your comments and start to respond, both on a systems level for all learners while also on a personal level for your child. This leads to the last area of feedback: how clear to families are our efforts to get our learners ready for high school, and how well do we communicate those efforts? Is it clear that we want to teach academics but also social emotional learning, that organization and behaviors are taught, that mental health is important, that attendance is crucial, that student voice and choice help with engagement, that trauma happens (has happened) and we are compassionate, that learning is a process not an event so the pace matters, and that success is measured in multiple ways? What more can we do to demonstrate intentionality over the three years so families know that there is focus on process (effort, motivation, and participation), progress (growth over time), and product (content)? How does our family-school partnership support the gradual release of responsibility for the learner so she or he is a critical thinker, a problem solver, a mindful decision-maker, and an effective communicator and collaborator her/himself? Maybe you have some thoughts for us on how and where to begin or how and where to grow. Please partner with us, please be patient with us, and please grow with us as we work along with your child. We love that you are an active partner both on campus and at home. 

If SMS is going to continue to grow and produce high-school ready, 21st century learners, we must build upon our previous results and overcome any discomfort to positively impact our world. This is what makes us similar to other middle schools yet also what makes us so unique.


*NOTES - an extra-special thank you to those that volunteered their time and those that donated food for Friday’s all-school dance. Almost half the student population was in attendance: shout out to Student Council and Ms. Faatz! What a great event!

*If you have children who wish to join their siblings here at Spectrum or know of others interested in attending Spectrum next year (2022-2023) please make sure to apply for enrollment by January 31, 2022, to be included in the February 15, 2022 enrollment lottery.  Spectrum Application Link. Please contact Christy Siegel ( if you have any questions (763.450.9859).


Weeks in Review

  • Thursday, November 25 & Friday, November 26: No School - Thanksgiving Break
  • Monday, November 29: No School - Teacher Professional Development Day
  • Friday, December 3: Fine Arts Winter Band Concert