Dear Incoming McCall Families,
I hope this message finds you well. As summer vacation approaches its midpoint, I would like to provide everyone an update of the work the school has been doing in preparation for the 19-20 school year.
RULER Institute - Thanks to the generosity of WFEE, I, along with three McCall colleagues, attended the RULER institute conducted by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence last week. Many of you are familiar with the RULER approach to teaching social emotional learning given what your students learned during their elementary years. For those of you who are not familiar with it, RULER stands for Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, and Regulating one’s emotions. At the heart of the RULER approach is the understanding that emotions matter, and they are important pieces of information that play a critical role in our decision-making process. If we are not able to recognize, understand, label, express, and regulate our emotions, we will not be able to effectively make decisions that would lead us to reach our goals.
When people talk about teaching middle schoolers, they often talk about the challenge of working with a group of students who are prone to get very moody and emotional. The approach that many adults who work with adolescents take is to ignore those expressions of emotions or to teach students to suppress those feelings. Doing so can lead the emotions to come out later and drive some very unhealthy and destructive behaviors. This is why we as educators of adolescents need to know how to help them learn how to manage their emotions.
This coming year, all of the McCall staff and teachers will spend time increasing our learning about emotions and the RULER approach. We will be thinking about the roles that emotions play in how we interact with the students and each other and how they are involved in the way we work toward teaching the whole child.
I would like to invite you and your students to participate in the following voluntary activity and practice recognizing and labeling your emotions.
- Invite your student to find a picture of himself or herself engaging in a summer activity that made them feel very pleasant and which involved a high level of energy. Ask your student to name the emotion that was captured in the photograph. Please name that picture file by using this format: StudentFirstInitialLastName_Emotion.jpg. Please use this link to submit your picture. Attached here is an exemplar. This picture is of my son “dancing” shortly after last school year concluded. The emotion he said he felt was “elated”. The file name is JLin_Elated.jpg.
- Next, invite your student to find a picture of himself or herself engaging in a summer activity that made them feel very pleasant and which involved a low level of energy. Ask your student to name the emotion they were feeling at that moment in time. Please name that picture file by using this format: StudentFirstInitialLastName_Emotion.jpg. Please use the link included above to submit your picture. Attached here is an exemplar. This picture is of my son and daughter at the summit of Mt. Monadnock. The emotion my daughter said she felt was “proud”. The file name is JLin_Proud.jpg.
Please note that the pictures you submit will be compiled into a slideshow which will be shown to members of the McCall community. The picture files themselves will not be shared with any other person. Please remember that this activity is voluntary.
Construction Update - Phase II of the McCall Renovation Project is proceeding well. The foundation of the new wing continues to be built. By next week, the walls of the foundation will be up. The construction company is also working on converting the storage area in the Basement wing into a new staff workroom. The framing of the space is almost completed, and when that happens electrical work will begin. Attached here are some pictures for you reference.
Preparing for the Start of School - We are still on track to release the student schedules and teaming information at around August 15. Don’t forget the School Supplies information are posted on the school website for those of you who are early planners. I also encourage you to sign up for the McCall Principal’s Blog if you would like to receive weekly updates during the school year. I use this method to update everyone on McCall happenings weekly when the school year starts. In order to prevent flooding your inboxes, I will only email you directly when I have to share need-to-know information.
Lastly, I will be away starting this weekend until August 14, so please contact Assistant Principal Lavoie at email@example.com if you have any urgent matter that needs to be addressed. I wish all of you will continue to have a fun and relaxing summer vacation, and I am looking forward to seeing all of your summer pictures!
McCall Middle School