Friday, August 30, 2013

First Newsletter

 August 30, 2013

Welcome Quest Families!

We have had a nice three days of warm weather to get to know each other!  Students have participated in group activities, forming rules, and learning the ins and outs of CBMS.  Next week we will begin our Core classes.

This is our blog / newsletter.  This newsletter is probably the longest one, as there are so many ideas to cover!  We want to make sure you received this first newsletter, and you know where to find it.  Please either sign the bottom of the newsletter and return the very bottom of it (where the dotted line shows where to cut it) or email us back to let us know you received this note.  If you would like a paper copy each week, please indicate that on the bottom, or in your email.  If an email reminder works better, let us know that too.

Each one of your students received a Quest Planner this week.  Planners will be used everyday to record homework, schedules, and to stay organized!  Each week Team Quest will go over the weekly schedule so that students can plan both their school and home responsibilities.  We encourage you to use these planners with your student to discuss weekly happenings and organization.  There is a Quest glossary in the back of these planners that includes words used at CBMS and on Quest.  You can check this out for lexicon you might not be familiar with such as "Powerschool" (more about that next week) and "The Happening."

First week / general schedule
As you have probably heard from your student and maybe have seen in their planners, this week's schedule is a bit out of the ordinary.  We have been busy getting to know each other, the school, and what it means to be on Team Quest!   The daily schedule, which you and your student can expect most of the time, is linked above where it says 'general schedule'.

You might be wondering what "Humanities" is on your student's schedule.  Humanities is a combination of science, social studies, literacy and math.  We are teaching these together during this block to help students understand that learning does not always fall on subject area lines.  Students will study specific standards in the traditional science / social studies curriculum (scientific method, interdependence, geography, Greece and Rome), and they will see how these connect with each other.  If you would like to help out, or if you are aware of service learning opportunities, please let us know!  This is a good class to incorporate working with community partners.

Quest Plan of Action
Our Quest Plan of Action (attached above) is our discipline policy.  You will find the steps that the teachers on Team Quest will take to address any discipline issues that may arise in the classroom. 

Homework may be a new afternoon activity for your student.  Our intention with homework is for students to continue their learning outside of the classroom day. 

Studies have shown that the best way to ensure your student succeeds, is to have your student read.  Therefore, we require 20 minutes of reading a night.  Each week, we will require students to write the name of the book they are reading, and the page numbers they have read.  These pages will be a part of their LA grade.

 Your student will have 20 - 30 additional minutes of homework each night.  If your student is working for over an hour on homework each night, and it is becoming stressful, please let us know via an email, or written note.   We will follow up and have different strategies to make the homework time less stressful.

To make it easier to remember, we have set aside specific due dates for each week.
Due dates:


If your student does not have his / her homework on the due date, your student will fill out a homework notice.  This notice will go home with your student.  Please sign this notice the day you receive it and have it returned to the school, preferably, stapled to the completed assignment.  If we do not receive the notice back the next day, we will either call home, or email you to let you know there is work that is owed.

We will suggest times to the student to finish this assignment.  Guided study on a Tuesday or Friday might be the perfect time to make it up.  We will accept a late assignment up to a week after it is due.  At that point, it will become a 0, and that will be recorded in Powerschool (electronic gradebook).  These can affect an average pretty quickly.

If a student receives three homework notices, we will ask that the student stays after school to work on an organization system that will help facilitate getting homework done and in to the teachers.  If there is still a problem, we will ask for a conference to create a plan that will remedy the problem.

We intend for the homework to be based on learning.  Therefore, we will be grading the homework based more on progress than on how much is correct.  We expect our students to work hard, and we want them to progress.  If you find you are needing to provide too much assistance to your child, please let us know and we can help figure it out so homework works for everyone.

On Fridays, you may have noticed, there is a "POW" due. POW stands for "Paragraph of the Week."    Students will be assigned a topic on a Friday, and will have the week to complete it.  I will assign the first POW next Friday, and it will be due on the 13th.  The first POW will be answering questions in complete sentences.  We'll move up to paragraphs later in the month. I will include more information about this assignment next Friday.

If you would like to know the week's assignments, they will be written in your student's Quest planner.  We will also have a link to all the homework on Quest from the Quest home page.  The link is in the "nuts and bolts" toolbar on the left of the home page.

Quest Webpage
If you click the link above you will be sent to the Quest Webpage.  You can also access the Webpage from the CMBS website.  We will update our webpage throughout the year.  You can find helpful tools, homework information, assignment information, practice websites, references, and much more!   

We will wrap up our first newsletter here, so as not to overwhelm you with information!  Please let us know if you have any questions.  Our email has changed.  It is now under the wwsu domain, so feel free to email either Curtis or Melissa using these addresses:

Enjoy your long weekend!

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