Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First Day FAQs and Responses - 2014

First Day FAQs and Responses

Last year I wrote up some FAQs and responses following the first day of school. I thought I would re-post a few of the frequently asked questions and updated responses here. Please don't hesitate to contact us for assistance with anything. We look forward to working together this year!

Q: What is the earliest I can drop off my child at RMS?
A: 7:30 AM each day. We do not have supervision in place earlier than 7:30 so we ask that you please don't drop off your child prior to that time. After 7:30 students may wait in the lobby, visit the cafeteria or play basketball/soccer in the gym. The bell rings for the start of school at 7:55.

Q: Do I need to purchase a RMS student planner?
A: No. We do make them available for purchase on a first come, first serve basis at the start of the year. Students may use any planner or organizer and in fact we encourage students to try different tools to find what works best for them. 8th grade students may wish to use their iPads this year as their primary planner/organizer.

Q: How can I find out more about the 8th grade 1-1 iPad program?
A: Please visit the 1-1 website accessible from the RMS web page and also feel free to reach out to our technology coordinator, Marty Warren, for assistance.

Q: Can my child change their schedule/elective?
A: Depends. Core classes are mostly locked in at this point unless there is a change in placement or a special circumstance. Elective changes can still be made over the first week of school as long as there is room in a desired course. Students interested in a schedule change should talk with their guidance counselor in the first week of the quarter.

Q: How do I add money to my child's cafeteria account?
A: The RMS tech department sent home an instruction sheet including online account information as part of the summer mailing. Students can also deposit cash or checks in the cafeteria each day before school or during snack.

Q: How do I log in to the Student Portal (grades/schedules/demographic info)?
A: The RMS tech department sent a single-sign-on instruction and log in sheet in the summer mailing. Once you have created your parent account you can add all of your RMS and HHS students for easy access to their Portal pages. If you have difficulties creating your account or adding your child please contact the RMS tech office. Frequent Tip: Create your account before trying to use the student ID number to add your child.

Q: Where do I find information about bus routes?
A: The SAU web page has the most current bus route information. You can also reach the bus company at 802-295-2414.

Q: Where can I find __ document or more about RMS?
A: We try and post most of our documents and information on our web page. Please take a look and let us know if you have suggestions for additional material.

Please contact us if you have additional questions. We are happy to try and assist you. I'll add to this list as we get closer to the start of the year if we have some recurring questions. Phone calls to the front office are also always welcome at 603 643 6040.

Thank you!
Mike Lepene
Principal RMS

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer Institute on Education for Sustainability

Last week I joined a team of educators from RMS at the Summer Institute on Education for Sustainability at Shelburne Farms in Vermont. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the team, the other program participants and the facilitators. We spent four days immersed in discussions of sustainable practices and education opportunities. Participants worked on incorporating themes of sustainability into their curriculum and collaborated with other educators from around the United States. 

Here is the description of the institute as provided by Shelburne Farms:

"Education for Sustainability is at the heart of what we do at Shelburne Farms and with our PreK-12 schools, university, and community partners. Spend four rich days with colleagues around the country at an informative and restorative institute created to provide an opportunity for participants to deepen their understanding of Education for Sustainability. This week is part conference, part workshop, part retreat. We develop the institute based on participants' needs and assets; but we always ensure that educators have an opportunity to develop connections between curriculum and community, work and dialogue together, and reflect in an inspiring setting that models sustainability and systems-thinking."

The Richmond Middle School Sustainability Committee will incorporate the work of our team into their efforts this year. Some of the topics that emerged from the Institute:

-Exploring and pursuing the EcoSchools USA program as a way of organizing our efforts and recognizing our progress and success.
-Developing our definition of "Sustainability" and "Education for Sustainability" for our various stakeholder groups. Using these new definitions to work on a Sustainability Committee mission and also to find connections to our school Mission Statement.
-Combine our student and staff/community sustainability groups to create a single group with a diverse membership.
-Add "Big Ideas" of Sustainability to our curriculum mapping templates and effort. Provide support to teachers looking to integrate topics of sustainability into their curriculum.
-Support projects and programs aimed at making us a more sustainable organization. 
-Brand, Promote and Communicate our efforts.
-Utilize sustainability as an expanded framework for a healthy school environment for all.

Finally, in addition to the institute providing rich ideas and energy that will support our efforts to incorporate Education for Sustainability at RMS I enjoyed participating in this experience as a teacher. As a classroom teacher, the big ideas of sustainability were infused throughout my curriculum, classroom and practice. I found it incredibly satisfying to reconnect to something I was passionate about teaching and learning. In my role as principal at RMS I look forward to supporting and promoting the efforts of others to do the same.