I am looking forward to working with all of you this year. Please feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance to you in any way; generally, email is the most efficient way to contact me; however, I am always available by phone or am happy to schedule a meeting, as needed. In this packet, you will find lots of information about the school year; please expect to also receive e-mails throughout the school year which share pertinent information, volunteer opportunities, and additional needs in our classroom. Your children are off to a great start–they appear happy, confident, strong, and academically prepared for the year Thank you in advance to everyone for your time, energy, and commitment to our school.
Profile of a Student Again this year, our Schoolwide Learning Expectations or SLEs will be very present. Our SLEs are broken into four categories:
The Gallery of a Graduate Project in the spring will be centered on these four themes. Additionally this year, we have the school theme of Our Holy Names Tradition: Live in the Heart of Jesus this year. Activities with our family groups will surround this theme.
Absences: We highly encourage you to schedule appointments outside of the normal school day. We understand that sometimes your child must miss school due to appointment, illness, or other family matters. However, it is imperative that your child be at school in order to best be prepared as they leave St. Ignatius School in June.
As your child is continuing to prepare for high school, it is important that they continue to progress toward becoming fully responsible for absent work collection; with this in mind, eighth graders are asked to make contact with a peer to collect homework during an absence. Please keep in mind that this is something they will need to do in high school—there will not be one classmate who can simply write down their homework. The skills of asking for help, asking for a missing paper, or making an appointment to meet with a teacher are integral to success after St. Ignatius School. However, if your child is unable to make contact with another student, please e-mail by 9:00 AM to request their homework be collected and I will certainly assist them in this process.
If your child is absent, he or she will be given time to make up the work (generally one day for each missed day of school) before it is considered late. It is our school policy that in the case of pre-planned absences, teachers will not provide homework assignments in advance, since it is not always possible to predict how much material will be covered during the school day. It is suggested that students make contact with a classmate to obtain assignments, as well as check-in with teachers upon their return.
Assignment Notebooks Assignment notebooks are very helpful in teaching the organizational skills that students will need in high school—and beyond. Each eighth grader has had the opportunity to purchase a school assignment book to keep track of their assignments. If your family has opted not to purchase an assignment notebook, I would highly suggest some sort of tracking system be used.
Late Work Policy All middle school teachers have agreed to use the same policy regarding late work. Assignments not completed and ready to turn in when they are due will automatically have their scores reduced by 15%. Papers will not be accepted for credit beyond one week after their due date. They will receive a zero in the grade book.
Digital Citizenship St. Ignatius School recognizes that personal electronic devices are a regular part of many of our students’ lives and that they can be a powerful tool in a classroom setting. Our school’s technology program provides guidance about the responsible use of devices through our Digital Citizenship curriculum. In each of the middle school grades, we teach one of the three middle school units. Each contains five cross-curricular lessons, which build upon each other by reinforcing developmentally appropriate topics. Our goal is to educate students on how to use these devices responsibly here at school and encourage them to transfer these skills into their daily lives.
Birthdays We would love to celebrate your child’s birthday (or half-birthday) as part of our classroom community. Your eighth grader is invited to wear free dress on the day of their celebration. Additionally, we will sing and celebrate all the things we love about her or him. I would encourage families to think about ways to celebrate that don’t necessarily include sweet treats. Some ideas include: a favorite book donation to the library or our classroom (we will add a birthday placard to celebrate your child for years to come), favorite fruit snacks, mandarin oranges, or even glow sticks.
Class Sweatshirts It is an eighth grade privilege to design and wear a class sweatshirt. Once we make a decision about the design, students will bring home an order form. Students are welcome to purchase one or more sweatshirts to wear as part of their school uniform.
Standardized Testing Standardized testing will look a little different this year throughout the Archdiocese of Portland. Testing will take place one time each quarter, and will use technology for immediate results and feedback. This is an exciting benefit for our students! It is very important for your child to be here on the scheduled standardized test days. We will test mainly in the morning; if you must schedule an appointment on a standardized test day, please choose afternoon—and preferably after school hours. Please do not schedule high school visits during these scheduled dates.
Pumpkin Patch Field Trip We will be going on a field trip with the first grade to the Krueger Pumpkin Patch in late October. A permission slip will be sent home soon; I will need a few chaperones/drivers as well. Students will also participate in a follow-up lesson by decorating the pumpkin face with their first grade partner.
Student Led Conferences Conferences during eighth grade are special due to the fact that they are student led. Each eighth grader will prepare a portfolio of their work. This can be a very empowering (yet challenging) task for eighth graders. Wednesday and Thursday of this week are also great days for your child to visit a high school, however, please keep in mind that your child must be present for the conference when scheduling.
Community Outreach: Blanchet House The eighth grade class will be volunteering each month at Blanchet House in Northwest Portland. Blanchet House provides food, clothing, and shelter to Portland’s homeless community. Each month, a portion of the class will prepare, serve, and clean-up after a meal. We will then stay to join the staff for lunch. We will leave school at 10:40 AM and return by 1:10 PM. We will need parents to drive each month.
Community Outreach: Transition Projects Transition Projects located at the Bud Clark Commons in Northwest Portland provides a wide range of services to homeless men and women. This includes emergency shelter and transitional housing. Once each month, St. Ignatius Parish and School provide dinner for the men in the emergency shelter. Please encourage your child to participate in this worthwhile activity. Helping to prepare or serve a meal is a great way for students to live out the lessons that we are teaching both here and at home.
High School Open Houses Each of the Catholic high schools hosts an Open House in order to give students and families a better sense of their school. Each of the Catholic high schools in Portland provides a great education and cares about their kids. However, there is likely a best fit for your child—and family. I encourage you to check out any or all of the schools that you are considering. Open Houses at the various schools are one way to see a school shine. Below you will find the website where you can find specific times for the events.
High School Placement Exam All of the Catholic high schools give the same placement test on the same day. Each school does have an additional date for the exam if the Saturday time does not work for your child. You will need to pre-register at the high school where you will be taking the exam. There is a testing fee and you should plan on taking the test at your preferred high school for admissions purposes.
Student Visits to High Schools All Catholic high schools offer a time for eighth graders to spend a day at the high school(s) they are considering. Each high school has their own schedule for how and when these visits take place. I keep a calendar listing planned visits; please confirm their visit with me to ensure that I know about the absence ahead of time.
Middle School Academic Fair Again this year, the eighth graders will take part in a newer St. Ignatius tradition, Gallery of a Graduate, a culminating project using the four facets of our SLEs: Eager Minds, Passionate Hearts, Enthusiastic Spirits, and Brilliant Futures. Each student will use the inspiration and style of an artist—mixed with their own gifts and talents—to create four visual images which share about their own growth as a student. I’m looking forward to continuing this tradition with your child.
Graduation More information will follow in the spring regarding this exciting event. However, keep in mind the date. Also, if you have availability to take an entire day off from work, you may want to do so on this day. There are festivities during the morning that you may not want to miss!