Middle School Newsletter December 20, 2017
Dear Parents,

As we head into the winter break, I wish you all the best for a restful, relaxing and restorative time away from school. My three weeks back in the Middle School have been informative, engaging and very busy -- and above all leave me excited and enthused about our continued work in the New Year in creating the most powerful and effective learning environment for our students.

On the heels of some our recent meetings, we are in the process of setting up some follow-up conversations, meetings and focus groups that will empower us to continue our rich dialogue about our special school.

In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful time this break, whether it be here or afar, and I look forward to seeing you in 2018!

Sincerely,


Chad Fairey
Middle School Principal

In this newsletter....

  • Upcoming Dates
  • Parent Coffee for January & Follow-Up Survey
  • Sign Up for M3 & M4 Ice-Skating Party on January 5th
  • Low Tech Ideas for the Winter Break
  • Fall MAP Scores
  • Principal's Book Club
  • Arabic Language Celebration
  • Learning in Action: M4 Visual Arts
Dec 20First day of Vacation
Jan 3Classes Resume
Jan 5M3 & M4 Ice Skating Party; Lasker Rink, 6:00-8:00pm
Jan 10Curriculum Forum for Parents; Cafeteria, 5:00-6:30pm
Jan 15Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (School Closed)
Jan 17Middle School Parent Coffee; Cafeteria, 8:30-9:30am
Jan 25Principal's Book Club; 8:30-9:30am, Location TBD
Jan 26Semester 1 Ends for MS and TH
Feb 21st Semester Report Cards Published
Thank you to those that came to our recent Parent Coffee on December 6th. Facilitated by Blessing Uchendu and Katherine Prudente from Hallways, the discussion focused on support students as they make healthy and safe choices. A video recording of the presentation and discussion is available here.

Our next parent coffee is Wednesday, January 17th, from 8:30-9:30. In the New Year we will also be announcing a few dates for opportunities to join focus group discussions around some issues related to our schedule, academic program and other topics. As you have requested more variation in the times of these meetings, we will offer some options in both the morning as well as afternoon/evenings.

Complete the survey on Parenting in the Digital World

Last November, the school psychologist and counselors offered a workshop on "Parenting in the Age of Social Media: Helping our t(w)eens navigate the digital world". Many parents expressed interest in attending workshops throughout the second semester that would focus on more specific topics related to parenting in the digital world. Following the workshop, we shared a survey to get a sense of the interest of our parent community. As we have received little feedback so far, we ask that you take a moment to fill out this short survey so we may target our workshops to best respond to the needs of our community.
Take the Survey

All M3 and M4 students are invited to our annual iceskating party at Lasker Rink in Central Park. The event will be held on Friday, January 5th, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. There is no cost --- the skate rentals are included and we have the rink for ourselves!

Each M3 / M4 student needs an adult chaperone. It does not have to be a parent, and one adult can be responsible for couple of kids, but please be aware – students who show up by themselves are not going to be admitted. The guardians are most welcome to skate as well. There is concession stand on the premises, serving hot chocolate, tea and snacks for purchase.

Enter Lasker Rink via Center Park from 110 Street and Lenox Avenue.

Complete Online Registration for the Party
As we head into a few weeks of unstructured time with family and friends, it is a lovely opportunity to disconnect -- both literally and figuratively. Delaney Ruston, the film producer behind Screenagers suggests board games as the ideal ways for family to connect instead of losing themselves in their screens. A link to her recent article is below:
You should have recently received an email from Jeremy Birk, Director of Academic Research & Innovation, with instructions for accessing and interpreting your child's MAP scores.

A copy of the email is here.

As a reminder, the MAP reports are published in the UNIS Parent Portal, under My Backpack. Instructions for accessing are below. In January we will be sharing some analysis about the data for the Middle School and share additional information about how this data is and will be used to impact student learning at our school.

Step 1 - Sign into My Backpack Homepage and navigate to the My Documents page (http://unis.to/mbp)

Step 2 - From the home page, locate the Settings section, placed on the right side of the page, on a gray background

Step 3 - Select and click on the link labeled "My Documents"

We will bring back the Principal's Book Club in the New Year. Our first book together this year will be Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. Written in 2005, this groundbreaking book looks to the future of global business and economy and condenses research about the kinds of learning, right-brain skills and mindsets that will be most powerfully linked to success.

We will meet on Thursday, January 25th, from 8:30-9:30 (location TBD) to discuss the book and reflect on implications for our work with our middle schoolers at UNIS.

buy on Amazon
buy on Barnes and Noble
listen on Audible
On December 18th, UNIS once again joined the UN Community and the world in celebrating Arabic Language Day. The event was established by UNESCO to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to elevate the use of Arabic as an equal counterpart alongside the other official UN languages.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova described the day as "a call to promote the cultural and linguistic diversity of the world as a crucial element in the cultural wealth of humanity... It is a bridge between cultures and a practical way of adding to knowledge, perceptions and mutual understanding for peace."

On December 18, 1973, the UN General Assembly approved Arabic as an official UN language.

We are grateful to support from our community in recognizing this day every year, as well as to all that spent time on Monday enjoying the festivities!
Pencil & Computer

M4 students have been exploring 1, 2 and 3 point perspective drawing in Art class. Just like during the Italian Renaissance era when artists were at the forefront of scientific development we have been using a variety of new and old technologies to show our understanding of the laws perspective. Here are some of the wonderful results.
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