Letter from Head of Middle School – September 2014

Dear Middle School Families,

As educators, we are truly grateful for the time we spend each day with your children and the unique perspective we gain from them. We witness their triumphs, wins, challenges, and struggles. Every teacher, coach and administrator on our team works thoughtfully and diligently not just to supervise your children, but to create meaningful relationships that lead to academic learning and character growth. Toward this end, I want to sharehow we are fostering a culture of shared values in the lives of our Middle School students.
In the opening weeks of the semester, students in grades 7 and 8 participated in a virtual conference call with an external expert, College Professor Marialice Curran PhD, to explore the reality of the digital footprint. We are digitally connected 24/7 and the choices we make extend far beyond our physical reach and present moment. We asked students the question: What is your legacy? Please take a moment to review the Twitter feed #MVDigCit to understand the impact of the discussion or read Amy Wilkes’ Storify to get a feel for the event. As we continue to explore these important issues, all students in grades 5-8 have the opportunity to earn virtual badges for demonstrating specific skills related to Digital Citizenship and Technology. View the first four badges and the norms around Digital Citizenship Badging.
Last week, students in grades 7 and 8 were challenged to sign a Pledge to Erase Meanness (follow the Twitter feed #Erasemeanness). The boys and girls met separately and were asked to think of a time when they were mistreated, as well as a time they may have mistreated others. We thenchallenged them to write down an act of kindness they would perform for the week. Please ask them about it.

At the weekly town hall meeting, students in grades 5 and 6 were challenged by Mrs. Mines to sign The iPromise Pledge that promotes community, a common language, and a mutual understanding of what we expect from each other.
I Promise to:

  • Pledge honesty
  • Remember my promise
  • Observe my surroundings
  • Mindful of Mindsets
  • Infuse my learning
  • Sustain my commitments
  • Empower myself and others

You may remember earlier this month all of our students commemorated the victims and heroes of 9/11 by serving and partnering with a variety of organizations throughout the community on Helping Hands Day (see Video) (follow the twitter feed #MVHHD14).

Another way we are building a strong culture is through our weekly Chapel and Christian Education program. This semester we are examining the Mount Vernon Norms through the lens of Jesus’ life and those who followed Him (read the Message on MV Norm “Fail Up”).

As we work to help our children navigate adolescence and provide them with the best opportunities in life (and as a parent myself), I want to share these articles with you merely as food for thought:

Do you value the struggle?

Are you doing too much for your child?

Do you have a cell phone contract with your child (if your child has a cell phone)?

Our goal is to gain from students more than just compliance to a set of rules, but a commitment of higher standards to one another and our community. It is a privilege and a blessing to be part of your family’s life. I love my school.

Chip Houston
Head of Middle School

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