August 11, 2023
Dear Middle School Families,
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn,” is one of my favorite educational quotes from the creative Benjamin Franklin. I believe it encapsulates the power of unlocking student voices and finding creative ways to involve them in their own education.
In our first middle school gathering last year, we set the goal for every student to have the opportunity to be on stage at least once throughout the year. This goal doesn’t always mean a student needs to be front and center on stage, but is about finding ways for all students to connect and share what they are passionate about in their lives. Finding the stage could mean a student leading an elective for their peers, presenting something they learned, managing the tech booth for chapels, or as simple as presenting a new math concept they discovered to their classmates. We achieved the goal of getting as many students “on stage” as possible in 2022-2023, and regardless of what that stage looked like, our goal for the upcoming year is to continue to provide opportunities for students to discover and share their voices within their Monty experience.
It is an exciting time for me as I enter my second year at Montgomery. One of my biggest excitements, outside of students returning to campus, is the opportunity to work with our middle school team to continue to think creatively about our program. Over the summer, a group of teachers met to think about all the moving parts of our program, and how they fit together with the goal of creating continuity and clarity for our work with students. We discussed topics around study hall, reflected on 22-23, advisory, the daily schedule, student behavior, and how they all intersect with one another in a student's experience at our school. This work for me was very energizing to be a part of because it showed how dedicated our middle school team is to creating the best environment and experience for our students.
Out of this work with middle school teachers and reflection from this past year, we have exciting news around some highlights and changes that I believe will have a big impact on the middle school program.
Highlights and Changes of Note for 2023-2024:
Advisory and Character Education:
- In our summer work we discussed the importance of being consistent in our roles as advisors, and having a clear purpose with the lessons and work we do to support students
This year’s advisory lessons and focus will be centered around three themes: Character, Community, and Leadership (more information to come about these themes!)
- Advisory is now isolated in our schedule without distractions from other activities, so we will be able to dive deeper into this work with students
In the spring, students will work with their advisors to reflect on their academic and social life that will then be presented by students to their parents/caregivers
We are moving from a 6 day to a 5 day rotation to allow for more academic time over the year, consistency with classes, and simplicity for routine purposes for students
- Study Hall
is moved from the end of the day to the middle of the day with more structure to allow students to learn and practice self-advocacy skills
- Advisory is scheduled with its own space/time
There are double blocks for core classes (SCI/Math and LA/SS) that will allow for collaboration, innovation, and project-based learning
- There are designated blocks in the schedule for community time, electives, and service learning opportunities
Classes will be held in the first block, so students need to be present at school prior to the 8:20am start time!
Student Planners, Canvas, and the “Live Stream”:
We will have our very own Montgomery planners that 6th grade students envisioned at the end of last year! The planners will be required and used by all students on a daily basis from home to school
- Canvas will function the same way throughout each grade level from the start of the year
Each Canvas page will have a “Live Stream” document on the homepage that will be updated by individual teachers to show the date of their class, topics discussed in that class, and any tasks/homework for the next class. The goal of this document is to provide a clear space for parents and students to engage in conversation about what is happening in their classes
This year we are excited to welcome Alison Jussaume to our team who will teach 7th and 8th grade Language Arts. She brings a wealth of teaching experience and knowledge, and has already made an impact on our program this summer while connecting with colleagues and thinking about our curriculum!
Grade Level Advisors
6th Grade: Charles Hambrick, Jake Kratz, Emily Messer, Marlene Pajot-Pavlak
7th Grade: Kim Knauer, Jay Kulkarni, Jeff Ormsby
8th Grade: Mike Anzaldo, Alison Jussaume, Heather Schelhorn
Mike Anzaldo - 7th/8th Math
Charles Hambrick - 5th/6th Math
Alison Jussaume- 7th/8th Language Arts
Denise Kelly- 5th/6th Social Studies
Kim Knauer - 5th-8th Art
Jay Kulkarni - 7th/8th Science
Jake Kratz - 5th/6th Science
Emily Messer - 5th-8th Spanish
Kami Mulzet- 5th/6th Language Arts
Jeff Ormsby - Music 5th-8th Music
Marlene Pajot-Pavlak - 5th-8th French
Chris Ruck - Physical Education
Heather Schelhorn - 7th/8th Social Studies
We are looking forward to the upcoming school year, learning from each other and our students, and seeing the impacts of the adjustments and tweaks in our program. Next week when I return from vacation, I will send out a short email about the first month of school, and students will receive their class lists via email.
Head of Middle School