Sunday, August 18, 2019

August 18 Update

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope this message finds you well.  As you may have heard by now, student schedules will be disseminated through the Aspen Family Portal during the day tomorrow, August 19, 2019.  Since Aspen cannot open the portal for just one school in the district, you will receive an email message from the district central office during the day tomorrow alerting you that the Portal has been opened for all Winchester schools.  I ask all of you to keep the following information in mind once you have reviewed your students’ schedules.

  • We have little to no flexibility to accommodate family requests pertaining to changing students’ schedules or teams so they can be with their friends or be with or away from certain teachers.  Although we were fortunate to add world language to grade 6 course offerings, we do not have the capacity to schedule every incoming 6th and 7th grade student in his or her first choice language courses.  Please keep this information in mind prior to contacting the school with a change request.

  • Once the schedules are released tomorrow, we are not planning to change your students’ team placements, homeroom assignments, or team teacher assignments.  With that being said, please keep in mind that since enrollment, staffing, and student needs are ever changing, my staff may continue to adjust elements of your students’ schedules (such as during which semester a semester-long course is scheduled or the order of your students’ classes) after Monday in order to create classes that are as balanced as possible.

  • If you wish to communicate with us regarding your students’ schedules, we ask you to use the channel listed below after the Family Portal is opened in order to facilitate the communication process.

    • 8th Grade Schedules  - Please direct your questions or requests to Assistant Principal Jeannine Lavoie (jlavoie@winchesterps.org).
    • 6th and 7th Grade Schedules  – Please direct your questions or requests to Assistant Principal Terry Sheehan (tsheehan@winchesterps.org).
    • Aspen Access – Please direct your questions or requests to Ms. Karen Vita at the central office (kvita@winchesterps.org).

  • I am also asking all parents and guardians to please review your contact information when you access the Aspen Family Portal.  If the information included in Aspen is not accurate, please contact Ms. Laurel Anthony (lanthony@winchesterps.org) in the McCall main office, and the administrative assistants will update your information for you.


BYOD – I would like to ask all families to take a moment and review the school’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program information included here.  This webpage can also be located in the Resources section of the school website.  The district is committed to ensuring all students have access to a device in order to help them meet their academic responsibilities.  Therefore, if you choose to have your student use a district device for the 19-20 school year, please sign up by using this ChromeBook Needs Request Form.  We are scheduling Chromebook pick up for August 28 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm in the McCall Library.  If you are not available to pick up a Chromebook at that time, we will reach out to you or your student to ensure he or she receives a device once the school year has started.

Student Handbook – I would like to ask everyone to review the McCall Student Handbook included in the Resource page of the school website before the start of the school year.  We have made some important changes to the following areas, so I highly advise all families to review the information with their students in order to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding our practices and policies.

  • Attendance (Pg. 19)
  • Student Conduct (Pg. 31)
  • Disciplinary Actions (Pg. 32)
  • Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Gender (Pg. 49)
  • Inclusive Sports and Extracuccicular Activity Participation Policy (Pg. 53)
  • Parents Bringing Student Items to School (Pg. 16)

Labeling Emotions Activity - I would like to invite you and your students to help us promote Social Emotional Learning (SEL) by participating in the following voluntary activity and practice recognizing and labeling your emotions if you have not done so yet.

  • Invite your student to find a picture of him or herself engaging in a summer activity that made them feel very pleasant 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 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.


The summer is not over yet, so I hope everyone continues to enjoy your time off from school.  I will be reaching out again next week with more information pertaining to the start of school.


Sincerely,


James Lin
Principal
McCall Middle School

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