Sunday, December 16, 2018

December 16 Update



Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope you are well.  On behalf of all the McCall staff members, I would like to thank the McCall Parent Association as well as all the parent volunteers for putting together such a wonderful spread of holiday treats for us.  We would especially like to thank Adrienne and Mai, our two MPA Presidents, for the leadership, organizational skills, creativity, and energy they exhibited in order to put this event together.  We appreciate knowing that the parent community supports the hard work we do, and we thank all of you for giving up your valuable time during the busy holiday season to be kind to us.

 
 

As we head into the last week of school of 2018, I would like to remind everyone that Friday December 21st is a full day of school and students will be dismissed at the regular time of 3:07 pm.  On that day, McCall staff is planning to do our annual Scavenger Hunt activity with all of our students.  We believe this a valuable exercise because it brings the entire school community together and promotes positive teacher-student relationships.  The scavenger hunt will take place during the last period of Friday.  During that time, students and staff will have the opportunity to work together in small groups and as an entire class with the end goal of accurately answering as many questions as possible. The questions and tasks are varied to respond to different learning styles.  Some of the questions require knowledge about McCall Middle School – the staff, building, how the school operates, etc…  Other items test one's ability to solve puzzles, brain teasers and riddles.

I am looking forward to the Scavenger Hunt.  Most of all, I am looking forward to seeing staff and students bonding over this activity.

Lastly, I would like to wish Ms. Galatis a happy retirement as she embarks on her last week of teaching this coming week.  Ms. Galatis concludes a remarkable thirty plus career working as a public school educator and educational leader.  We will miss her leadership, humor, friendship, and dedication to the students and families of Winchester.  Thank you Ms. Galatis!



 











Thank you and enjoy the upcoming week!


James Lin
Principal
McCall Middle School

Sunday, December 9, 2018

December 9 Update

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope this message finds you well.  I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our instrumental teachers Mr. and Mrs. Costello, Mr. Galvin, Mr. Hachten, and Ms. Snodgrass for teaching and preparing our students so that they could perform at such an outstanding level during this past Wednesday's winter concert.  I would also like to congratulate Ms. Sebastian for preparing our Solo Voci singers to sing so well during the Festival of Lights performance at the Jenks Center this past Tuesday.  I once heard a comedian joking about how middle school music teachers are like animal-lovers who work at a slaughterhouse.  This certainly is an exaggeration, but I am always impressed by the patience our music department colleagues need to possess in order to get our students to advance from being novice musicians to high level performers.  The skills that our music teachers teach our students go beyond being able to play music.  They also teach our students critical life lessons such as self-regulation and the value of practice.  I thank all our music teachers for their continued hard work and I also thank all parents and guardians for your continued support of our music programs.

As some of you know, this past Wednesday morning Ms. Madden, our Special Education Supervisor, and I did an one hour presentation on the Middle School Special Education program during the monthly Parent’s Coffee.  Quite a few of you contacted me asking if it could be rescheduled because they could not attend due to work.  Since there is a high level of interest for informational session like the one Ms. Madden and I presented this past week, we will schedule an encore performance in January after the holiday madness is over.  We will schedule that session in the evening in order to accommodate for working parents.

Lastly, I would like everyone to know that our Lost and Found area in the cafeteria is getting to be quite full.  I encourage all of you to remind your students to stop by and claim any lost items before the winter vacation.  We are planning to donate all remaining items to charity during the upcoming break.

Thank you and enjoy the upcoming week.


James Lin
Principal
McCall Middle School

Sunday, December 2, 2018

December 2 Update


Dear Parents and Guardians,



Happy December!  I would like to begin by reminding everyone that the December Parent Coffee is scheduled for this Wednesday from 9:00-10:00 am.  Our topic for this session will be Special Education at the Middle School, and I have invited Ms. Mary Ellen Madden, the Middle School Special Education Supervisor to join us.  We are planning to discuss the following:



  • ·      What are some of the special education services that the middle school provides?
  • ·      How does a student qualify for special education services?
  • ·      What does an IEP (individualized Education Plan) do or do not do for a student?
  • ·      What are the differences between an IEP and a 504 accommodation plan?
  • ·      What are the differences between an accommodation and a modification?
  • ·      How does the school work collaboratively with parents and guardians when a student continues to struggle while he or she is on an IEP?


I welcome all parents and guardians who are interested in this discussion – regardless whether their students are currently receiving special education services – to join us.  Please note that we will not be discussing specific cases, families, or students during this session.  I also like to thank the McCall Parent Association for sponsoring the Parent Coffees.



Secondly, I would like to let everyone know that every day our main office staff receives quite a lot of requests from parents to pass along messages to their students or to remind their students to pick up items such as lunches, music instruments, cell phones, or assignments that the family members have dropped off for them.  Please know that the office staff works very hard not to interrupt the class time, so we work to minimize the amount of PA announcements or calls into the classrooms.  With that being said, we also understand there are circumstances when parents need to pass along important messages during the day or give students items they may not be expecting.  In order to meet both demands, the office staff will be making “call down” announcements during morning announcements at 8:30 am, right before the first lunch at 11:10 am, and at dismissal time which is 3:07 pm.  We will refrain from interrupting instructions by making PA announcements or calls into classrooms in between those three times unless extremely urgent matters arise.



I also hope I can count on everyone to help the school create an disruption-free learning environment by asking our main office staff to call down students only for urgent matters.  As for forgotten lunches, please note that our food services staff will always provide students with nutritious lunches if they do not have one for any reason.  Thank you for your cooperation with this matter.



Lastly, I would like to remind all parents that we have created a Quiet Lunch space in the library for all students who would like to eat lunch in a calmer and less energetic environment.  If you feel your students can benefit from this resource, please encourage them to see Ms. Henchey, the librarian, and she will help them access the Quiet Lunch space.





Thank you and enjoy the upcoming week,





James Lin

Principal

McCall Middle School

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear McCall Parents and Guardians,

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving!  I hope all of you will unplug and unwind from your daily work and home routines and enjoy quality time with your loved ones.

I am very thankful for the opportunity to be at McCall, and I am grateful for all of your support to help me adjust to this wonderful community.  I looking forward to accomplish great things with all of you in the coming days

Sincerely,


James Lin
Principal
McCall Middle School

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Nov. 18 Update


Dear McCall Parents and Guardians,

I hope this message finds you well.  I am writing to let everyone know that starting on Monday, Nov. 26, we will be opening up a Quiet Lunch Space in the Library to give students the chance to spend their lunch time in a quieter and calmer setting.  The Quiet Lunch Space will be available during all three lunches.  However, we may not be able to accommodate every student who wants to spend their lunch times in the library due to the physical space limitations and the purpose this space will be serving.  If your child is interested in the Quiet Lunch Space, please remind him or her to retrieve a pass from the library every morning before homeroom.  Students will not be able to get a pass any time after that.  There will be 15-20 passes available for each lunch, and they will be given out in a first-come-first-serve basis.

I would like to ask all students to remember to clean up after themselves if they decide to use the Quiet Lunch Space.  I also ask all students to be respectful of the purpose of this space and only engage in activities that keep you calm, relaxed, and centered.  We also ask students to refrain from using electronic devices in the Quiet Lunch Space.

I ask everyone to take a moment to read the attached FAQ document (please click here).  It provides you with important information related to the Quiet Lunch Space.

On a separate note, I would like everyone to know that our lost and found spaces are very full.  I encourage parents and guardians to stop by the cafeteria after school to retrieve lost clothing, water bottles, lunch boxes, etc...  Thank you for your help with this effort.


Enjoy the upcoming week!


James Lin
Principal
McCall Middle School

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Nov. 11 Update


Dear Parents and Guardians,



I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend.  I would also like to take this moment to thank our own Mr. Phil Doucette (Sargent, US Marine Corps and custodian), Mr. Larry Farelli (Corporal, US Marine Corps and 8th grade math teacher), and Mr. John Gill (Captain, US Army and 7th grade math teacher) for for their services to our country.



Last night on Saturday Night Live, Mr. Dan Crenshaw, Congressman-elect from Texas and former Navy SEAL who wears an eye patch due to an injury he sustained during one the tours he served in Afghanistan, came on the show to be part of - in my opinion - a very funny skit about a controversy one of the cast member created during his performance on last week’s show.  Mr. Crenshaw also took on a more serious tone during this week’s show and said the following:




This is Veterans Day weekend.  Which means it’s a good time for every American to connect with a veteran.  Maybe say, “Thanks for your service.”  But I would actually encourage you to say something else.  Tell a veteran, “Never forget.”  When you say, “never forget” to a veteran, you are implying that, as an American, you are in it with them – not separated by some imaginary barrier between civilians and veterans, but connected together as grateful fellow Americans who will never forget the sacrifices made by veterans past and present.  And never forget those we lost on 9/11, heroes like Pete’s [a SNL cast member] father.  So I’ll just say, Pete, never forget.




I will join Mr. Crenshaw and say to Mr. Doucette, Mr. Farelli, and Mr. Gill, as well as all the veterans out there, “never forget.”




I would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone about some safety practices regarding the arrival and dismissal processes.  As someone who enjoys biking, I am glad to see there are still quite a lot of students who continue to ride their bicycles to school despite the colder weather.  Although most of the students I see are in the habit of wearing bike helmets, I still notice too many students who do not do so on a consistent basis.  Therefore, I urge all parents and guardians to remind their students that they must wear helmets when they are biking.  It is the law!


As all of you know very well that picking up and dropping off students are not easy tasks due to the many traffic challenges that are present in front of McCall and Lincoln.  As we wait for the results of the Traffic Study conducted by the Office of the Town Engineers to come back, I ask everyone to please be courteous to each other while you are dropping off or picking up students.  Please obey all traffic signs and refrain from parking in handicap spaces, spaces reserved for McCall and Lincoln staff, as well as all areas that are designated as no parking zones.



I would like to commend all the crossing guards we have working in the Lincoln and McCall areas for being the dedicated professionals that they are and doing wonderful work for our students and community members each and every day.  I ask everyone to please cooperate with them so they can ensure everyone arrive at and leave the school safely.  When crossing the streets, I urge everyone to cross at the areas that are staffed by crossing guards.




Thank you and enjoy the upcoming week.




James Lin

Principal

McCall Middle School

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Nov. 4 Update


Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope this message finds you well.  As all of you are aware, the midterm election is this Tuesday, and I am certain the partisan rhetoric all of us will be exposed to in the coming days will ratchet up.  I think it is important for middle schoolers to participate in the democratic process and develop their own thoughts and opinions about issues that are important to the school and their local and global communities.  I also think it is equally important for students to learn how to discuss their opinions and disagree with each other in a respectful manner.  I have included here an article from Psychology Today, which provides some helpful tips on how adults can teach students civility.  Although the article was written prior to the 2016 election, I find many of the author’s tips to be even more useful today than in 2012 when it was written.  I encourage everyone to join the McCall faculty and staff to teach and model for our students behaviors such as:

·      Disagree with humor, intelligence, and civil discourse.
·      Don’t let anger and emotion get in the way of listening to others.
·      Challenge people’s view but do not attack the person.

Thank you and here are two reminders for the upcoming week.

Please do not forget that although McCall faculty and staff will be engaging in professional development activities this coming Tuesday, there is no school for students that day.

Lastly, I will be holding this month’s Principal Coffee this Wednesday morning at 9:00 am.  The topic for this month will be School and Home Communication.  I invite everyone to come to chat about this topic or any other matters you may have on your mind.

Thank you and enjoy the upcoming week!


James Lin
Principal
McCall Middle School