Middle School Spring '17
Holy Savior Catholic
Welcome to Holy Savior Catholic Academy Middle School – Vol. 1 – March 15, 2017
8th Grade: In this semester we are now working on Forces and Energy. This unit expounds on the concepts of motion, forces, work and machines, energy, thermal energy and heat, Electricity, magnetism and electromagnetism. I can say that we are already halfway through the unity.
The previous unit we were working on was water and the atmosphere. The students were able to study various aspects of Weather and Climate. Areas covered included fresh water, the oceans, the atmosphere, weather, climate and climate change.
8th grade students are workingon their project which is on Storms that impact North America. They are supposed to use either a power point or a display board. They should identify the main storms i.e. winter storms, thunderstorms,tropical storms and tornadoes. Explain formation, wind speeds, wherethey occur, dangers and effects on the environmentand how to stay safe.
7th Grade: Seventh graders are now working on The Earth’s Surface. Key areas in this unit include mapping Earth’s surface, weathering and soil, erosion and deposition and a trip through geological time.
The previous unit 7th grade covered was Human Body Systems; in this unit the students learned about the human body i.e. bones, muscles, skin, digestion, circulation, respiration, excretion, fighting diseases, the nervous and endocrine system.
7th grade project is on the Solarsystem. The students should identify the planets and the sun and come up with a model of the solar system; explain the main characteristics of each planet and the sun i.e. size, distances and position, physical features, number of moons, rotation and revolution. Students should support their presentation with clear picturesof each planet and the sun.
6th Grade: Presently we are tackling Astronomy and Space Science. Major areas of emphasis include earth, moon and sun, exploring space, the solar system, stars galaxies and universe. Previously 6th grade spend time learning about Ecology and The Environment. The unit covered population and communities, Ecosystems and Biomes, Resources and Living Things, Land Air and water Resources and Energy Resources.
Currently the students are working on their project. With the use of power point or display board; the learners should identify a favorite animal; identify the animal’s characteristics including habitat, feeding, migratory and breeding habits, behaviors and association.
Math – Mrs. Phillips
8th Grade: Currently we are working on two-variable equations that include slope, writing linear equations, and solving equations by graphing on a coordinate plane.
This will lead us into functions that include graphing functions, linear and non-linear functions, and quadratic functions that will help the students get ready for geometric figures in April.
April will be a big month withState Assessments and MAP Testing soon to follow. The 8th grade will be very busy the next several months and with lots to look forward too.
All of the Math classes have been working on Prodigy. It is a great game for students to play that helps them advance in Math. Ask your student about Prodigy, most of them are pretty excited about it! This is something all of them can do at home!
7th grade: In the 7th grade class we have started using stations every day. The class is currently split into 2 groups. While one group is with me during instruction, the other group is on the computers on Prodigy, Successmaker, or Math Facts in our Renaissance Program. The students will have direct instruction for 20 minutes and then will move onto their homework station. If the students do not get their work completed in the homework station, this will then go home to be completed and due the next day. Please make sure your students get their homework completed!
Currently the 7th grade is working on percents which include figuring sales tax, tips, markups, discounts, simple interest, and compound interest. They will then move into sequences, properties of operation, and algebraic expressions.
6th Grade: In the 6th grade class we have also started using stations every day. The class is currently split into 3 groups. While one group is with me during instruction, one group is on the computers on Prodigy, Successmaker, or Math Facts in our Renaissance Program, and another is at the homework station. The students will have direct instruction for 20 minutes and then will move onto their homework station. If the students do not get their work completed in the homework station, this will then go home to be completed and due the next day. Please make sure your students get their homework completed!
Currently the 6th grade is working on ratios and rates, and will be moving on to decimals and percentages.
April will be a big month for all three classes with State Assessments and MAP Testing to follow!
Social Science – Mr. Turner
8th Grade: The 8th grade is studying the American Revolution and why there was a revolution.
7th grade: The 7th grade is currently studying our great state of Kansas after World War 1 in 1920.
6th Grade: The 6th grade is involved with the study of the Mediterranean Empires which starts with Ancient Greece!
17th – NO SCHOOL – Parent/Teacher Conferences
20th-24th – NO SCHOOL – Spring Break
3rd-7th – State Assessments
8th – CSAL Track Meet
12th – LATE START – School begins at 9:00 am
14th – NO SCHOOL – Good Friday
17th – NO SCHOOL – Easter Monday
21st – Quarter 4 Progress Reports Sent Home
22nd – CSAL Track Meet
26th – LATE START – School begins at 9:00am
29th – CSAL Track Meet
An Appeal to Current & Prospective Parents of Holy Savior Students By Warren Brice
America has more people in prison than any other industrialized nation in the world. Of those imprisoned, African-American males are the dominant cultural group. In fact, some studies indicate that African American males are struggling with academics across the country at alarming rates. Consider the following statistics:
Three-quarters of state prison inmates are dropouts, as are 59% of federal inmates. In fact, dropouts are 3.5 times more likely than high school graduates to be incarcerated in their lifetime. African American men are disproportionately incarcerated. Of all African American male dropouts in their early 30s, 52% have been imprisoned. 90% of the 11,000 youth in adult detention facilities have no more than a 9th grade education. (http://www.aypf.org/publications/WhateverItTakes/WIT_nineseconds.pdf)
Nationally, about 71 percent of all students graduate from high school on time with a regular diploma, but barely half of African American and Hispanic students earn diplomas with their peers. In many states the difference between white and minority graduation rates is stunning; in several cases there is a gap of as many as 40 or 50 percentage points. (http://www.all4ed.org/files/GraduationRates_FactSheet.pdf)
A new study from the Justice Policy Institute (http://www.justicepolicy.org), a Washington, DC-based think-tank that advocates for alternatives to prison, has found that after two decades of harsh criminal justice policies, there are more black men in jail or prison than in college. At the end of 2000, 791,600 black men were behind bars and 603,032 were enrolled in colleges or universities. By contrast, in 1980 -- before the prison boom -- black men in college outnumbered black men behind bars by a ratio of more than 3 to 1, the study found.
The report, "Cellblocks or Classrooms? The Funding of Higher Education and Corrections and Its Impact on African American Men," also found that spending on education has suffered as a result of the imprisonment binge. Between 1985 and 2000, the increase in state spending on corrections was nearly double that of the increase to higher education ($20 billion versus $10.7 billion), and the total increase in spending on higher education by states was 24%, compared with 166% for corrections. (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle-old/252/jpistudy.shtml)
According to a Justice Department report released in July 2003, the U.S. prison population surpassed 2 million for the first time—2,166,260 people were incarcerated in prisons or jails at the end of 2002 (the latest statistics available). Since 1990, the U.S. prison population, already the world's largest, has almost doubled. About two-thirds of prisoners were in state and federal prisons, while the rest were in local jails. The report does not count all juvenile offenders, but noted that there were more than 10,000 inmates under age 18 held in adult prisons and jails in 2002. The number of women in federal and state prisons reached 97,491. About 10.4% of the entire African-American male population in the United States aged 25 to 29 was incarcerated, by far the largest racial or ethnic group—by comparison, 2.4% of Hispanic men and 1.2% of white men in that same age group were incarcerated. According to a report by the Justice Policy Institute in 2002, the number of black men in prison has grown to five times the rate it was twenty years ago. Today, more African-American men are in jail than in college. In 2000 there were 791,600 black men in prison and 603,032 enrolled in college. In 1980, there were 143,000 black men in prison and 463,700 enrolled in college. (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0881455.html#ixzz1N3On9yh6) (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0881455.html)
What keeps students from dropping out has also been well researched. Overall, when students feel a sense of belonging, membership and engagement, and a community of support they remain in school. A number of studies have found that mentor programs or the presence of a significant caring adult can cause at-risk students to remain in school (Outlaw, 2004; Rysewyk, 2008;). (http://robdarrow.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/research-high-school-dropouts/)
The Outdated “Sports/Entertainment Paradigm”
I believe that one of the primary causes of the alarming rise of African-American males in prison is the result of what I call the “Sports/Entertainment Paradigm.” Sadly, African Americans seem to be operating out of a collective “success” paradigm that is outmoded and outdated. Despite the fact that African-Americans have been blessed to live in the richest nation in the history of the world; as late as 2011, many African-Americans continue to see the sports/entertainment industry, and/or the underground economy which is fueled by drugs and crime, as the best ladders to upward mobility in America. Seventy-five years ago, that may have been true. Most legal means of upward mobility (other than professional sports and entertainment) were closed to African-Americans, replaced with Jim Crow segregation, spectator community lynchings, an absence of civil and human rights, and abject poverty, as high percentages of African-Americans, North and South, lived in terror below the poverty line.
Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell African-Americans that there are a myriad of legal industries now open to them that their great grandparents could barely dream about. It’s as if a massive economic party is going on globally; like other cultural groups African-Americans have been invited, but they refuse to answer the phone to accept the invitation. For decades, African-American leaders, as well as the rank and file, trashed America for locking them out of the ballroom; now that they’ve been invited, African-Americans refuse to put on a new outfit and join the rest of the world in the global economic party.
Over forty years after Civil Rights Legislation forever changed the socioeconomic fabric of American culture, African-Americans have dangerously settled for one-third of their people stuck at the bottom of what some have called a permanent underclass, wandering aimlessly through a suffocating, desolate euphoria of disunity. In other words, forty years post Civil Rights and the martyrdom of Dr. King, African-Americans are carrying a loaf of bread in both hands and still scurrying around America crying, “I’m hungry!” Exclaiming desperately how this cultural group or that cultural group is conspiring to destroy them. Sheer nonsesnse!! No other cultural group is forcing African-Americans to sell lethal narcotics to their own people---that’s the tragic outcome of a deadly, unGodly combination of greed, ignorance, and hopelessness. No other cultural group is pulling the trigger to murder so many African-American males, ages 15-25; most often it's one young African-American male wantonly shooting, maiming, or killing another African-American male, usually over something silly. Seventy-Five years ago, the Ku Klux Klan was terrorizing African-Americans in the South into the "Great Migration;" today African-Americans are terrorizing the innocent, law abiding men, women, and children of their own communities. No other cultural group is denying African-Americans the chance to seize the educational opportunities sitting at their doorsteps, or to take a trip to the public library and read!!! Again, I say sheer nonsense!!! African-Americans are the primary destroyers of their own communities today, and that is tragic! It's not some other cultural group thats the boogeyman; it's African-Americans themselves!
Shackled by a pervasive ignorance and apathy, many young African-American males continue to invest body, brain, and soul into the sports/entertainment industry, while writing off higher education as nothing more than a stepping-stone to a lucrative career in professional sports/entertainment. When these futile dreams fail to be realized for millions of young African-American males (as the math indicates they will for all but an infinitesimally small number of the lucky few), many of our young men and women feel that they are forced into unsavory lifestyles of crime because they never took seriously the opportunity to get a quality education. An education that could have possibly produced the cure for cancer, or another African-American president, another African-American billionaire to add to the only two African-Americans have (Bob Johnson & Oprah Winfrey), or a fix for global warming, or the end to dependency on foreign oil! Who knows how many young African-American males and females could have achieved overwhelming success for themselves, their families, their children, their communities, their people, their nation, and their world---if only they had been taught the true value of information and education at an early age, as the Japanese have been doing for decades now!
When will African-Americans relinquish this archaic sports/entertainment paradigm that no longer serves the collective needs of a people who now number over 40 million?!
3 Educational Strategies that Work for Economically Disadvantaged African-American Students: Compassionate Connection, Compassionate Correction, & Compassionate, Culturally Relevant Curricula
Now is the time to let it go! Now is the time to say yes to a future that begins with a quality education. And I believe that one excellent place to begin this future is at Holy Savior Catholic Academy with a teacher whose entire approach to education is rooted in caring, compassion, and grace. In the remarkable educational film, Freedom Writers, teacher Erin Gruell presented a telling question to her oppressive supervisor, "How can you teach them; you don't even like them?!" Unlike many of my colleagues outside of Holy Savior, I believe that teaching must begin with compassion. I believe that you must not only like your students, as hard as it can be sometimes, you must love them---in spite of all of their emotional flaws, warts, and baggage!"
First, there should be a compassionate attempt to connect with students. I don’t believe that a teacher can really teach African-American students without the trust that is built with compassionate connection. Of all the different cultural groups I have taught, I have found African-American students, especially males, to be quite unique with respect to the attitude they exhibit in the classroom toward learning. Unlike other cultural groups, African-American students have a tendency to dismiss the learning opportunity if they do not like the teacher, or, more importantly, if they believe that the teacher does not like them. It’s as if their relationship with the teacher is paramount, rather than the opportunity to learn. Therefore, I believe that before one can begin to teach African-American students, one must first get them to like and trust you. Students must know that you have their best interests at heart!
One of the ways I do this is through an external or extrinsic reward system that annually costs between $2,000 to $3,000 dollars (out of my own pocket). Many educators frown upon extrinsic rewards, arguing that students should be naturally or intrinsically motivated (Quick Question: How many teachers are intrinsically motivated; how many teachers would continue to teach if they weren’t paid to do it?!). This may be true for the student who comes from a culture that values education more than sports and entertainment, but for the student who operates out of the sports/entertainment paradigm, its preposterous to think that they will value education simply because it has been statistically proven that education can bring them a great financial future. Many of these young people look at the paths taken by their favorite professional athletes and entertainers and conclude that if they invest 110% of their hearts, bodies, and souls into their dream to be a star, then they won’t need the sturdy foundation that rigorous academics can provide. To approach students who think like this with a promise of external rewards in the distant future when they are twenty-five years “old” is to fight a losing battle----much of the time! Consequently, I provide students with an opportunity to earn as much as they can---which can sometimes be $100 or more----over the course of a 36-week school year. The cash opportunity gets most students attention, and they become motivated to do what’s necessary to get the cash, but in the process they oftentimes end up unwittingly getting a better education than they would have acquired naturally. Whenever possible, I also try to use idoms that African-American students readily recognize. For example, “you got jokes” is an idiom that comes straight from the streets. When a student realizes that you have not only taken the time to study and understand their informal language but can also use it effectively, it strengthens their ability to trust you as an educator who cares-----an insider rather than an outsider!
A second strategy I use to engender academic success with African-American students is compassionate correction. Some teachers seem to think that the purpose of discipline is to punish students. This idea runs counter to the core principle underlying compassionate correction. Rather than punish, the goal of compassionate correction is to use the correctional moment as an opportunity to share God’s grace, the unconditional love from God that we don’t deserve and cannot earn! Instead of sending a student out of the classroom for every minor infraction, whenever possible I try to quickly correct disruptive student behavior in the classroom. Keeping students in the classroom equals more time on task and more time to learn, which should theoretically result in higher scores on state assessments. A student sitting in the office, or in a buddy teacher’s room, is missing valuable instruction time. While having a disruptive student out of the classroom may be a great temporary fix for the teacher, the reduced classroom instruction time will often show up at the worst possible time----during the state assessment season, as these students score poorly compared to their peers who received more instruction time with the teacher.
Finally, a third strategy I use to support African-American success in the classroom is teaching a compassionate and culturally relevant curriculum. No human being wants to be bombarded day in and day out with illustrations and examples of the great historical achievements of other cultural groups without hearing examples that speak to the greatness of his or her own cultural group. Needless to say, there is far more to talk about African-American history than American slavery; teachers need to find creative ways to address the African side of the hyphenated nomenclature, the side into which fits Kings, Queens, Pharoahs, technology, pyramids and so forth. The African side of the hyphen (which tends tro be the most neglected) is where African-Americans can draw great strength and self-esteem boosts from---all of which can help to motivate them intrinsically. Realizing this fact, whenever possible I try to intentionally inject examples of great achievements of persons of African descent. For example, if I am addressing the equality of all human beings, I may mention that while human beings do differ culturally, we are all one species or people biologically, a fact borne out by the discovery that all human DNA can be traced back to one African woman in East Central Africa. The goal of such a strategy is not to discount the achievements of other cultural groups, but to carefully build the self-esteem of African-American students by helping them to see that they are not, nor ever have been, part of an inferior cultural group. I believe that higher self-esteem is at the core of learning because it empowers the student to believe that she or he can do anything they set their mind to---not just sports or entertainment!
My Teaching Record Over The Last 6 Years
By no means are my three core strategies for working with economically disadvantaged African-American students the only effective strategies out there. Notwithstanding, I have been able to enjoy a record of success that may be unmatched over the last six years. While not bragging, I invite any other educator in this great state of Kansas to publicly match my record of State Reading Assessment success with economically disadvantaged African-American students over the last six years:
2005—2006 Stucky Middle School---8th Grade Standard of Excellence
In 2006, my 8th grade students at Stucky Middle School achieved a Standard of Excellence (Standard of Excellence = 20% exemplary; academic warning must be less than 10%)
2006—2007 Holy Savior Catholic Academy---8th Grade Standard of Excellence
In 2007, my 8th grade students at Holy Savior Catholic Academy achieved a Standard of Excellence (Standard of Excellence = 20% exemplary; academic warning must be less than 10%)
2007—2008 Brooks Middle School---8th Grade = 93% pass rate
In 2008, my 8th grade students passed the State Reading Assessment at a rate of 93%; because one of my Euro-American females failed the test, my African-American students actually edged out my Euro-American students’ pass rate in 2008
2009—2010 Brooks Middle School---8th Grade Standard of Excellence
In 2010, my 8th grade students at Brooks Middle School achieved a Standard of Excellence (Standard of Excellence = 20% exemplary; academic warning must be less than 10%)
2010—2011 Holy Savior Catholic Academy---
7th Grade Standard of Excellence
8th Grade Probable Standard of Excellence
In 2011, my 7th grade students at Holy Savior Catholic Academy achieved a Standard of Excellence (Standard of Excellence = 20% exemplary; academic warning must be less than 10%); there is a strong possibility that my 8th grade students also achieved a Standard of Excellence with an 89% pass rate
Negative educational and criminal justice statistics about African-American males in particular, and African-American students in general, are quite disturbing. I believe that what I call the “Sports/Entertainment Paradigm” is playing a critical role in the perpetuation of negative attitudes toward education in the African-American community. For example, it’s easy to fill a gym for a "critical" basketball game in the "hood," but nearly impossible to fill an auditorium for parent-teacher conferences in that same hood!
I believe that there are quality schools in the hoods across this great nation of ours that will be key players in the eradication of this destructive “Sports/Entertainment Paradigm.” Holy Savior is but one example of such a school in Wichita. Holy Savior Catholic Academy is a school on the rise. It boasts a compassionate pastor, Fr. James Billinger; a caring, people-oriented principal, Ms. Delia Barnett, and a faculty of caring teachers. With this in mind, I strongly encourage you to consider Holy Savior Catholic Academy as a provider of a high quality education for your child.