Welcome back to school! The staff and I are very excited to embark on a great year of learning, both academically and emotionally. The staff and I take the responsibility of caring for your children during the day very seriously. We hope that you find your experience very fulfilling. Just as with any organization or company, communication is a key component to success. Please take advantage of the communication tools that are at your disposal. The most popular of these tools is EdLine. Those parents whose children are returning to us for their 8th grade year have their EdLine passwords. Those students new to us were sent their codes early in August. Again, this is a great resource so please take advantage of using it to keep yourself informed of your child's progress.
There are many exciting changes that have occurred this year. The school has instituted a 6 day cycle in order to better meet the diverse needs of our students. The cycles does not affect classes that meet every day, but does make a difference for those classes that meet periodically through the week. Your child's schedule reflects classes that meet on days 1, 3 and 5 as well as on days 2, 4 and 6. We have told the students that we will refer to them as "odd" and "even" days from now on so as to limit the confusion. Each day alternates between odd and even. If your child is ever confused by what day it is, the information will be posted on the EdLine calendar. It will also be noted on the daily bulletin that is posted on the web. Your children will be told what day it is each morning during the morning announcements as well. Lastly, a sign at the attendance office will also remind them. All students walk by the attendance office every morning on their way to homeroom.
In addition to this change, we have eliminated study halls in order to maximize instructional time. The institution of a course called Core Skill Improvement, known as CSI, will be taken by all students that have room in their schedule. This course is designed to support the middle level student in the area of study skills, organization, analysis and improvement of individual weaknesses, and support for their emotional growth. We are very excited about this new opportunity for our students and know that it will only get better with time.
One other improvement that I would like to point out is the availability of "on-team" academic assistance. One of the challenges that schools face in meeting the needs of students is finding the time to give students extended help. A teacher on each of the teams has been given an additional assignment this year of being available to help students who may be struggling on the team by being available for tutorial assistance. On an individual basis, students may also be brought in for extra help as needed during lunch or homeroom.
These changes as well as a few others were made in the hopes of improving our students overall educational experience. We have seen some tremendous growth in our students. As a fact, our current 8th grade class had an overall math proficiency of 91%. That means that 91% of our student body in 8th grade earned a score of Proficient or Advanced. We are very proud of them, their parents, and of course the entire staff. Together we can make IMS the best middle school in Allegheny County!
Again, we are very excited about this year! We hope you enjoy your experience. I can tell you, as you probably already know full well, but this year will go very fast. Take time to enjoy your kids and what the school has to offer. Our children are why we are here. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to assist you.
David M. Muench