Dear Parents:

After a long holiday break, it is good to have our students back in the building.  While January marks the beginning of a new calendar year, it is actually an ending of sorts at school because our second, 10-week marking period ends on January 30th. Historically, many students’ grades drop between the first and second marking periods.  There are many factors that can contribute to this:

· During the second quarter, students are fully immersed in new, challenging curriculum and there tends to be more assessments than the first quarter. 

· The enthusiasm of the new school has worn off and some students who achieved high grades the first quarter take their “foot off the pedal” when it comes to putting forth the level of effort they did at thebeginning of the year.

· The holidays, which fall during the first six weeks of the marking period, and the accompanying breaks from school can take students out of their routine and it can be hard to get back on track for the second half of the marking period.

In an effort to be pro-active and avoid the second quarter drop off, I encourage you to talk to your child and share with them some strategies to keep them on track academically over the next four weeks.  The best place to start is to sit down with your child and review their grades in Infinite Campus via the Parent Portal.  This will help your child get a clear picture of where they stand now while there is plenty of time to do something about it.  From this survey, encourage your child to create a plan to address areas they want to improve upon.  This plan may include checking with teachers to see if there are any past assignments they can still hand in.  It may also include scheduling extra time with teachers in classes where they are having difficulty with the material.  It is also an opportunity for them to re-commit to a homework routine that happens at a consistent time each day. 

Staying focused on academics amid all the distractions that middle schoolers encounter is a learned skill and every student is at a different level in terms of mastering it.  As parents, you can exercise your judgment as to how structured you want to make this process.  Some students may have already acquired this skill and a simple reminder from you will get the ball rolling.  Others may need a great deal of help to create a plan and follow-up on it over the next few weeks. You know your child best.  Don’t hesitate to contact your child’s teachers for their perspective. 

I hope you try this approach and your child finds success with it.  If nothing else, it is a great opportunity to sit down with your child and talk about how their studies are going before a report card appears.  Don’t hesitate to share with me how this works for your child at the end of the quarter. I wish you a happy, fulfilling and productive New Year! 

Sincerely, Tim Dobbertin, Principal

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