Dec. 13 - Dec. 22

I am delayed in my writing. December has gotten away from me for so many reasons. I bet you can relate. One of those reasons is the switch to asynchronous, distance learning for all learners, which has thrown us all back into memories of 2020 and hybrid learning. It might have thrown us into an emotional response as well.

December can be the most wonderful time of the year, but it also can be a lot less than that. The emotions that define the month, or any month quite honestly, are telling us that our needs are or are not being met. We often get caught up in those emotions, but if we can recognize this, we can consider how to respond to the feelings by trying to meet the missing need.

Needs are fundamental values that drive our actions. As a community of learners, Spectrum Middle School (SMS) works at making good choices to impact actions, based on the middle school beliefs (purpose), assumptions, and approaches (search Dr. Cameron Caswell for more about this).

Beliefs - middle school is a tough period, but so are many other periods in one’s life. Some are worse and some are better, depending on the individual and circumstances. But if we believe that we all need to survive these years, we actually make it harder. We start to see what we are expecting to see: all the barriers and roadblocks that come with these years. Instead, SMS is working on focusing on the positives of what the learners have done to overcome barriers and knock down roadblocks. Looking for the positives reinforces what is seen the next time, which creates a pattern of thriving versus overcoming. The choice is to believe that there is always something that can be learned and that can connect us even more, making us stronger as a community.

Assumptions - the brain often goes negative and assumes the worst in situations and people. It tends to add negative details, leading one to think of the worst possible outcomes. Playing a lot of video games, for example, does not mean a learner is lazy or negative or does not like reading. Not submitting assignments on time does not mean the learner does not care. People, teenagers in particular, do not typically seek trouble or desire to disappoint teachers and parents, so SMS is working on not assuming the negative. Rather the choice to assume positive intention raises enough doubt in a situation to warrant having a conversation. When we listen, offer grace, and coach learners through situations, our tone changes, leading to actions that feel supportive.

Approach - actions definitely originate from a need to be fulfilled. Sometimes those actions are positive, sometimes they are negative; they are motivativating on the one hand or manipulating on the other. When learners feel controlled, they resist. Middle-schoolers often do not see adults’ approaches as trying to positively mold or shape a strong foundation. The actions need to offer the learner some agency, so there is no threat. The approach is to break down the challenges into parts if needing action. If social-emotional, the approach is for learners to be reflective to take away a lesson from the experience so resilience is built, knowing they made it through a tough time and are all right.

When the strategies are effective, negative emotions do not enter the situation as a need wanting fulfillment. December’s emotions are here, so let’s believe that together we are stronger, let’s assume that we all have each other’s backs, and let’s approach another calendar year as a strong community, wanting only the best for each other.  Happy holidays!


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 .

Want to learn more? Here is the link to sign-up for one of our Information & Tour Sessions starting in December. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please call Christy Siegel ( @ 763-450-9859.


Weeks in Review

  • Monday, December 20 - Wednesday, December 22: Asynchronous, distance learning
  • Thursday, December 23: No School - Teacher Professional Development Day
  • Friday, December 24 - Sunday, January 2: No School - Winter Break
  • Monday, January 3: Delayed Start (8-period day)