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Dr. A's February Principal Coffee Recap: The Legend Continues

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Miss last month’s Principal coffee with Dr. A? Here’s a little recap the event, where we chatted about the good, the bad, and the incredible here at Cedar Park.

PSAT Math Scores Soar

Big news! Cedar Park showed the most growth in math (9%) over any other comprehensive middle school in Beaverton in the recent PSAT results. BOOM, baby!  

Dr. A credits our incredible math staff, as well as Cedar Park’s transition to the accelerated math program for all three years.  We are seeing those results!

Small backstory here:  Cedar Park dropped Math 6 last year.  Most incoming students take Math 6/7, Math 7/8, AGS 1, and then AGS 2 as freshman. (AGS stands for Algebra Geometry Statistics.) A small population of students qualify for a higher math in 6th grade and end up taking AGS2 as 8th graders here at Cedar Park. We have an even smaller group taking AGS 3 that are shuttled to the high school.

The PSAT is an important assessment-- and means more to students/teachers than the SBAC (Smarter Balance).

Completely confused as to the college readiness testing schedule?  This link might help you out.  Basically, it’s as follows:

  • PSAT 8/9 (8th & 9th grade)

  • Pre-ACT (10th grade)

  • ACT (11th grade)

  • SAT (any high school student)

Next Year’s 6th Grade Wheel

Our MYP recommendations included providing students with both visual AND performing arts opportunities.  So next year’s 6th grade electives will be more of a wheel, where students will get to try a little bit of everything before commiting to an elective (drama, choir, band, art) in 7th and 8th grade.

Hmmm… now how is that gonna work with band?  Well… band might be its own wheel. The kinks are still being worked out, but incoming students can expect to see changes.

Budget Cuts Dim 2019-20

Buckle up, CPMS.  Beaverton school district is facing some SERIOUS budget woes next year.  To the tune of $35 million. Last December, all BSD principals had to return 20% of their operating budget back to the district to make up for this year’s shortfall.  For Cedar Park, that was $22,000 no longer in play this school year.

Curious about how we fell into this quicksand? Our friends over at Bonny Slope had their recent principal chat dedicated to this joyful topic (back when they only projected $23million.) All things are on the table for next year, including:

  • Increased class size in all schools

  • Reducing multilingual teaching and support staff

  • Reducing custodial staff

  • Reducing campus supervisors and crossing guard positions

  • Shortening the school year

  • Eliminating conferences (or other non-student work days)

The real question-- will the bleeding ever stop? Not until we figure out educational funding at the legislative level.  Until then, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

Cedar Park Swimming in Successful BEF Grants

The Beaverton Education Foundation, combined with our innovative staff and generous community donors, has been able to provide quite a few projects this school year here at Cedar Park, including:

Huge thanks to Cedar Park parent, Lianne Yarvis, for her help in writing these grant proposals. Bravo, lady.

Cell Phone Policy Actually Working

So… banning cell phones during school hours actually makes life easier for students and teachers alike.  WHO KNEW?! Yes, the new cell phone policy has been a success. Fewer and fewer kids are being “caught” and teachers are thrilled with the school wide, specific methodology of how to handle infractions. Everyone’s on the same page and the kids are actually adjusting just fine.

Now if we could only do something about Fortnite…

Other Interesting Nuggets of Information You’d Have Learned If You’d Been Here:

  • The next PTC meeting on Monday, 3/11 will feature Beaverton High School Principal, Anne Erwin, at 7pm here in the CPMS library.

  • Incoming 5th graders are flying up in March and current 8th graders are forecasting for high school.

  • Our next tentative coffee date will be Tuesday, 4/23.  Incoming fifth grade families will be invited so we better put our best face forward (i.e. shower).

  • Like last year, Dr. A will be visiting all of our feeder schools to say hello and answer questions about the incredible world of middle school.

  • Incoming fifth graders will be taking the math placement tests in their elementary schools this year.

  • Advisory has been moved to Thursday mornings.  Afternoons just weren’t the best choice & we’ve course corrected.

  • Student socials were a big hit!  The last social will be the end of the year parties for each grade level.

  • Due to our crazy early August start date, Wolf Day will AGAIN be earlier than we want it to be.  (sigh)

See you at the next Principal Coffee on Tuesday, 4/23. Hopefully.  We’ll let you know if that changes.

Cedar Park Begins New Cell Phone Policy

Buckle up, Cedar Park! Next week marks a significant change in the student cell phone policy here at CPMS. This Off and Away ALL DAY policy begins next Tuesday, 1/29.

Here's a quick review:

  • Students are no longer able to access phones during passing time or lunch.

  • Students are asked to not have their phones with them during the day, but as long as phones are off, away and out of sight, there will be no problems. 

  • Students are not allowed to wear earbuds throughout the building; earbuds will need to be kept in their AVID binder so they can access them when needed for chromebook use.

Cell Phone Policy FAQ

What if I need to contact my student during the day?
We understand that there are times when you need to send a message to your student. Unfortunately, calling a cell phone or texting your student during class really puts the student in a difficult situation where the adults are asking her/him to choose to follow school rules but ignore a parent, or acknowledge the parent and break school rules that may lead to consequences. 

If you need to contact your student we ask that you call the front desk - we can either get a note to your student or have the student call you from the front office.

What if there is an emergency at school, and I need to know what is going on?

This is a common question and fear, but experience in BSD and nationally has taught us that during an emergency, students texting and calling parents often makes the situation worse. 

Additionally, emergency response groups have advised that in a lockdown situation, a cell phone ringing or lighting up may actually alert an assailant to a student’s location, increasing the danger level. 

Furthermore, students rarely have the correct information and often cause parents unnecessary panic, not to mention it ties up communication lines that need to be open for emergency and official use. In any emergency, you will receive official, accurate updates from the school, district office, and/or police department.

What happens if my child does not follow this expectation and has a phone out during the day?

*January 29-February 1:Students will be given a warning if they have their phone out. The entire student body will be reminded 3 times about the change in policy this week via announcements.

*February 4th: Students with their phones out in class, the hallway, in the lunchroom, or out on the fields will be sent to the office to turn in their phones for the remainder of the day, if it is their first offense. They may pick up their phone at the end of the day. The student body will be reminded of the policy change 3 times this week via announcements.

*February 11: Students will turn their phone in to the office and a parent will be required to pick up the phone, regardless of previous warnings or absence thereof. In addition, Advisory teachers will discuss the new policy and practice with their Advisory class.

*Additional violations will result in additional disciplinary consequences.

Why are you no longer allowing cell phones to be used at school?

We have seen an increase in cell phone misuse in class and throughout the day. CPMS admins and staff also believe that these formative years are important in teaching our future leaders how to communicate and build relationships in the real world.

What about before school hours and after school hours (such as during after school clubs)? 

Phones are expected to be off and away from the time students enter the building until the time they exit the building. This includes before class starts and during after school clubs.

Is Cedar Park the only school implementing this change?

No. Most of the BSD middle schools already have the same policy.

Dr. A's November Principal Coffee Recap: The Battle Continues

Miss last month’s coffee event with Dr. A?  Read on to hear the continuing saga of CPMS news…

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MYP Visit

The International Baccalaureate bigwigs are on their way to CPMS this December.  Their visit (which has since occurred) is part of the five year reauthorization process that every IB school goes through.  Two people from IB central will spend two days meeting with CPMS admins, our MYP coordinator Amy Hattendorf, district reps, and every teacher, as well as check out every classroom.  It’s basically an external review team, similar to a high school accreditation process.

What are they looking for? Well, they are interested in reviewing our recent self-study and the instructional strategies, and how CPMS is implementing MYP curriculum.  This type of self reflection is invaluable for schools.

And how did it go?  Here’s Dr. A’s report:

  • It's clear that we are aligned with the IB philosophy and that we support and encourage participation for all students. It was also expressly noted that our special education students are part of the MYP and valued part of our school community.

  • They specifically commended our special education and inclusion policy.

  • We received several commendations for our collaboration time and dedication to using it for our MYP work.

  • They were very complimentary about the things they saw going on in the classroom; students were engaged and there was clear evidence of inquiry.

  • We use a variety of teaching and learning strategies that incorporate a range of resources and technologies.

  • Our systems for reporting student progress aligns the IB assessment philosophy (which has also made a district wide impact, resulting in our standards-based report card).

Unsure about what IB and MYP even are? Here are a couple ideas to read:

Official IB Website describing MYP (Middle Years Program).

October Principal Coffee Recap: The Secrets are Spilled

Advisories: A Work in Progress

The advisory program at CPMS continues to improve.  This year’s change to just once a week proved to be the optimal amount of time and 40 minutes has been better for getting through this year’s defined lesson plans.  

However, the move to the afternoon has been less than stellar— kids are too antsy! The leadership council is pondering moving it back to the morning for next school year.

The goal of advisory?  A chance for students to maintain a three-year relationship with a staff member.  Even the administrators have an advisory group. It’s also meant to be an academic and social experience.  The first advisory of each month is dedicated to creating social connection between the kids. The counselors have also put together a cyber bullying lesson to be shared with students.

This month, Cedar Park is running a board game drive in hopes of boosting the options available to advisories.  Board games are an awesome way to socialize between students and their advisor.

Cell Phone Policing

Is there any greater challenge than managing a tween’s phone use? Nope. Now imagine regulating hundreds at a time.  Can’t even. January’s staff meeting will include a conversation about phones, Cedar Park’s current “off and away” policy, and the results of December’s parent cell phone survey.

Of course, with any change, Dr. A expects there to be quite an adjustment period for all involved-- staff, students, and the wayward parents who text their kids during the school day.  (Admit it-- you’ve done it too). The biggest change will be how it affects habits and behavior at lunch.


Transitioning to High School

8th graders will have several options this spring to check out Beaverton or Sunset high schools.  Beaverton offers shadow days for rising 9th graders, and Sunset hosts a rather extensive open house.  Once the option school window has closed, 8th grade parents can look forward to loads more info regarding open houses, presentations, visits, and forecasting for high school.


Math Options Remain

With Summa transitioning out of Cedar Park, a lot of parents are questioning what that means for their mathematically inclined children not in the Summa program.  Other middle schools are in the same boat and are trying out several programs/initiative to boost those students, such as monthly lunch activities, socratic seminars, and extra projects.

Here at CPMS, all incoming fifth graders will continue to be given the opportunity to take a math placement test each spring.  Our beginning math program (which all sixth graders take) is already accelerated with students taking Math 6-7. Those that qualify will be moved into either Math 7-8, AGS1, or AGS 2.

Confused with all the acronyms?  Let’s break it down.

  • Math 6-7 and Math 7-8 are part of the CPM program (College Preparatory Math).  Parent and student support can be found at https://cpm.org.

  • AGS 1 & 2 (Algebra Geometry Statistics) are high school level programs.  Here at Cedar Park, most students will take AGS1 as 8th graders, with the option to retake it freshman year in high school, though Dr. A expects to always have a class of AGS 2 students. Module support can be found here.

When in doubt?  Google the module and check youtube.  SERIOUSLY BRILLIANT.


Interesting Nuggets You Would Know if You’d Been There:

  • The painters have been busy after school!  Cedar Park’s hallways and lockers are slowly getting an update of orange and blue.

  • Thursdays are rep your university days, where kids and staff are encouraged to wear college gear (go Zags!). Tokens will be given out for kids wearing college apparel.  This is all a part of the AVID approach-- encouraging college readiness and allowing all our students to imagine themselves on a college campus.

  • The search continues for a long-term PE substitute.  The position is hard to fill since it’s only part time and would mean a sub would be giving up a full day’s work (an unpopular choice).  However, another teacher is writing lesson plans to gain more consistency into the classroom, er, gym.

  • Spiritwear is happening, America!  Socks, T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats… it’s all coming soon to boost our halls and school spirit.  

  • The water bottle filter is installed. Cedar Park’s fountains are difficult to upgrade, since the filtered water bottle station requires power. However, most classrooms have a faucet.  All BSD schools had their water tested for lead in 2016 and any questionable faucets were upgraded.

  • Hear a rumor?  Contact the admins, even if you aren’t positive on all the details.  They need to know what rumors are out there to help stop them and protect students.

  • BSD’s IT department is hard at work!  By the end of the school year, parents should be able to access their student’s search history-- remotely!  Yes, yes, little cherubs. We’ll finally see just what you’ve been up to.


And there it is! Look for another Coffee & Tea with Dr. Anderson in 2019!

Dr. A's October Principal Coffee Recap: The Secrets are Spilled

We gathered, sang kumbaya, and comesserated over the raising of tweens.  Read on to hear all the latest, greatest, and perhaps previously unknown details of Cedar Park’s programs and academics. Is this a principal chat or a support group?  The jury’s still out.

Upcoming MYP Visit: Why Does It Matter?

This December, Cedar Park will be hosting the IB bigwigs as they check in to see how we are doing in the MYP process.  Confused with all the acronyms? Let’s back up & give you the short version.

What does IB stand for?

IB stands for International Baccalaureate, a world-wide educational organization that uses a global focused, inquiry-based philosophy and requires a set of specific and standardized framework (with rubrics) for each type of program.  IB programs are found in private, public, and international schools all over the world.

The IB organization has four programs:

  • Primary Years Program (PYP), such as our feeder schools Bonny Slope, Ridgewood, and West TV

  • Middle Years Program (MYP), such as Cedar Park & Meadow Park

  • IB Diploma Program, such as International School of Beaverton, Mountainside High School and Sunset High School

  • Career-Related Program, not found in the Beaverton School District currently (but coming to Southridge soon!)

Currently, Beaverton School District has 16 schools in some level of IB certification.

What does the MYP program include?

IB’s Middle Years Program (MYP) has eight subject groups.  Under each of those subjects are four criteria, each of which are weighted equally to form a student’s final grade.  There will be a range of assessments for each criteria.

What are some outward and obvious signs that Cedar Park is an MYP program?

  • All students take a language (Spanish)

  • Graded on a 1-8 scale

  • Extensive collaborative work; students work in groups

  • All students take some sort of fine art (choir, band, drama, or art)

Why is the upcoming IB visit a big deal?

The IB organization reauthorizes on a five year cycle.  There are two parts to reauthorization– a school’s self-study where they self assess leading up to the visit (which CPMS submitted last spring), and then, the IB pros themselves visit & assess Cedar Park. Everyone basically asks the same questions– Is Cedar Park effectively teaching the standards and practices of IB? What areas can be improved? IB will then sends us an evaluation report, which the school will use to refine a five-year Action Plan.

Check out Cedar Park’s MYP website to learn more nitty gritty details about this educational approach.

Rumor Patrol

No, there was not a big fight that required an ambulance being called to the school.

After School Clubs are OPEN

Registration is happening & they start 10/16. There’s a large range this year, from basketball and soccer, to Girls Who Code and robotics.  More info on registration can be found here. (Update:  Both coding clubs are full, but ESL and Homework Help have room!)

Cedar Park is lucky to have a PTC that can subsidize these after school clubs, as many local middle schools are unable to offer clubs due to lack of funding. The BEF grant of $12,000 pays for soccer and transportation.  Stipends to pay teachers and additional fees are covered by the PTC.

Summa Staying?

BSD is in the middle of reorganizing its Summa program and is consolidating to only three sites-- Whitford, Meadow Park, and Stoller, the original three.  Why, you ask? Because for many smaller programs, it’s just not sustainable. It’s more cost-effective for the District to consolidate into three larger programs, as opposed to eight smaller programs.

The current 7th grade is scheduled to switch to Meadow Park next fall, but Dr. A and parents are lobbying to allow them to finish out at CPMS.  Dr. Anderson is hopeful that the size of that program will allow her to keep it one more year so those students are not forced to transfer. (UPDATE:  The District has confirmed that the current 7th graders will finish the Summa program here at Cedar Park next year).

Advanced Math Still an Option

Shannon expects to always have at least one section of advanced math each year for those students that don’t qualify for Summa, but still test high in math.  Each spring, all incoming 5th grade students are invited to take a math placement exam.

Class Sizes: What’s the Damage?

6th grade Summa students within our boundaries started at Meadow Park this fall.  With the loss of those students, CPMS expected to lose around 32 students. However, our 7th grade grew by 35 students over the summer and our enrollment actually increased to around 1050.

Current classroom sizes?  Low to mid-30s. The AGS 2 class is at 44.  (Did you know:  AGS stands for Algebra Geometry Statistics.  Most students take Math 6/7, Math 7/8, AGS 1, and then AGS 2 as freshman. We do have a small population of 8th graders taking AGS 2 here at Cedar Park. We have an even smaller group taking AGS 3 that are shuttled to the high school.)

Invitation Only: The Scoop on Fall Conferences

This fall’s invitation only conferences had a mixed reaction from the assembled group.  Dr. A explained that with only a month and half of school, it’s important to reach out to our struggling students right at the beginning and perform triage before things really start hemorrhaging.  Teachers felt it made a bigger impact and gave more time with families. Around this table, parents just want face time with teachers.

Spring conferences are for everyone and are scheduled for February this year.  

Parentvue Perplexity

Dr. A inadvertently opened a can of worms when she asked how we felt about Parentvue, BSD’s online parent web portal. The group’s biggest complaint?  Lack of consistent posting when grades are loaded all at once. It’s just hard to know how your baby’s doing when you don’t see a thing– and then a slew of mediocre grades suddenly come through at the end of a grading period.

Canvas isn’t treating us much better.  Contractually, the standard is somewhat vague on how often teachers need to be posting and communicating with families, and so the range between teachers is often significant.  The pinch point is hard to identify and as parents, we need to patient and if truly concerned, be as proactive as possible.

Proficiency Grading & All Its Glory

We could write pages and pages about the nuances, research, and pragmatics of the proficiency sensation that’s sweeping the nation.  While some parents find it hard to wrap their brain around, this approach to learning and grading is very much here to stay across the country in the foreseeable future.

How to describe it?  Well, first toss out all your childhood memories of measuring school grades. Those NO LONGER APPLY. Seriously, let those go or you’ll never understand the new model.

Proficiency grading, also known as standards-based learning, revolves around one thing– providing an opportunity to learn a defined set of skills (learning targets) for each grade and subject. A student’s journey to gain those skills is not always straight.  Students are given multiple opportunities to show proficiency and growth. Hence, if your cherub just isn’t getting it at the beginning and has a series of poor assessment scores, those won’t necessarily sink their final grade, as long as they have since proven that they are now capable of those skills.

Check out BSD’s rather handy dandy FAQ regarding standards-based learning. You might learn something!

Oh and hey– just for your own knowledge– Oregon law states that homework scores canNOT be taken into account when giving academic grades.  Yup, you heard it here first! It’s a state law.

THAT is why all of the homework/stamp systems are only part of the behavior grade.  Behavior grades are tracking and reporting habits and work, but essentially, academic grades must represent ACADEMICS (do they demonstrate knowledge of the material?), not how students behave in class (positively or negatively).  Additionally, back in our day, homework was found to actually inflate a student’s grade, even though their learning did not increase. Read more here to have your decades old view of report cards upended.

Six is the New A

Much to their older siblings’ chagrin, our current students are thrilled with BSD’s decision to reformat the grading rubric.  Again, such a long backstory here, but this change was hours and hours of work and meetings by our BSD administrators. Ultimately, they found that the MYP rubric’s grading was not consistent with non-IB Beaverton schools’ rubrics.  So…. they made it consistent. And the children rejoiced.

Technically, the assessment hasn’t changed– just the letter grade they get at the end.

Advisory Revamp

Cedar Park’s advisory program is still a work in progress.  This year, advisories only meet once a week (Thursdays) and teachers are given more specific lessons plans. Additionally, some advisories have become more topic specific, with leadership and community service advisories recently organized.

Other Interesting Nuggets of Information You’d Have Learned If You’d Been Here:

  • Cedar Park t-shirts will soon be for sale, including hats! Love this. A little school pride could go a long way around here. Tattoos, anyone?

  • CPMS is generally a 50-50 split of students going to Beaverton and Sunset.

  • Middle school boundaries will be changing soon.  That discussion should start next year, so buckle up, America.

  • Our first student social will be in January during school hours.

  • Art Lit is BACK, baby!  This year’s got a whole new leadership team, but using the lessons from last year to maximize and streamline the process to make it enjoyable for students, teachers, AND volunteers. Look for more info soon.

  • Due to the recent safety issues, the spring pacer test may have a different route. Historically, students have ran on the sidewalk around the block.  Sadly, no middle schools have tracks, so everyone is rethinking the safest and best possible method to finish this PE assessment.

  • Cedar Park has a new MYP coordinator (Amy Hattendorf) and our teachers are working collaboratively twice a month to get on the same page when it comes to assessments and strategies.

  • One Outdoor School camp had a chef go MIA.  Cedar Park enjoyed opening week of OS, so they’re working out the kinks.  Good thing? Kids didn’t even notice.

  • So… turns out CPMS has some vending machines.  Who knew!? Apparently these machines are quite the cash cow for Cedar Park’s student body fund. Parent feedback was to look into only stocking water and gatorade and not the coke zero.  Dr. A said she’d chat with the vendor.

  • Cedar Park’s cell phone policy continues to be “Off and Away.”  However, kids on their phones during passing time are hard to police.  

See you for Dr. A’s next Principal Coffee & Tea on Tuesday, 11/27 at either 8:45am or 6pm.

Important First Semester Dates- Fall 2018

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Please mark your calendars for the following important dates at Cedar Park through the first semester of 2018-19.  

More detailed information and additional dates will be sent throughout the year.

 

New Student Family Reception  Thursday, August 23

This informal, drop-in event is geared toward our new families from 5-6:30pm.  A sweet treat will be provided as students will have an opportunity to "walk" their schedule, explore Cedar Park and meet other CPMS families. 

 

First Day of School (6th Grade Only)    Monday, August 27

Sixth graders will have the school (and the bus) to themselves as they experience CPMS for the first time.  WEB leaders (8th grade mentor/leadership team) will lead them through ice breakers and other fun activities.  Students will have a shortened schedule to meet all of their teachers. Students do not need to bring anything except a lunch. CPMS' school day begins at 9:15am.

 

First Day of School (7th & 8th Grade)  Tuesday, August 28

The seventh and eighth graders will join the sixth graders on 8/28.

 

Health Preview/Back to School Night   Thursday, Sept 13

Swing by the school at 5:30pm to preview the health materials for the year.  The organized Back To School event begins at 6pm.  Parents will hear from administrators, as well as walk their child's schedule to listen to specific class info from individual teachers.

 

Cedar Park PTC Mixer    Monday, Sept 17

NEW THIS YEAR! Join fellow CPMS parents for an informal gathering to broaden our Cedar Park community.  We're in this together, so we might as well get to know each other.

 

AVID Family Night/Family Fun Night     Thursday, Sept 20

A special gather for our AVID families begins at 5:30pm.  The annual CPMS Family Fun Night is getting a fall reboot this year.  Stay tuned for more info regarding this teacher-led evening event, which will begin at 6:30pm

 

Outdoor School (6th Grade)    Sept 24- 28

Our sixth grade is lucky enough to have a fall Outdoor School date, meaning this experience will team-building and an adventure to remember.  More info (and paperwork) to come.  6th grade teams are assigned a specific camp.

 

Coffee & Tea with Dr. Anderson     Monday, October 1

NEW THIS YEAR!  Join Dr. Anderson for an informal gathering with other CPMS parents.  This is an excellent opportunity to have your questions answered and hear more about policy, strategy, and news at Cedar Park.  Morning session at 8:45am.  Evening session at 6pm.

 

Cedar Park 5K    Thursday, October 4

The PTC's only major fundraiser will take place on Thursday, 10/4 (NEW DATE!).  Volunteers will be needed to manage the chaos and ensure a successful event. Our goal is to make our full annual budget so we can sit back, relax, and watch our donations being spent for the rest of the school year.

 

Parent-Teacher Conferences     Wed, Oct 10 & Thurs, Oct 11

Our fall conferences are invite-only, meaning your child's teacher will contact you if they'd like to meet personally.  Conferences run from 5:30-8pm on 10/10 and 8:30am- 8pm on 10/11.  NO SCHOOL FRIDAY, 10/12.

 

Parent Teacher Club (PTC) Meeting     Monday, October 22

Our first PTC meeting of the year will feature Safety Resource Officer, Matt Cline, who will discuss online safety for kids and parents.  Starts at 7pm in the Cedar Park library.

 

Cedar Park Soccer Tournament & Latino Family Night    Thursday, Oct 25

The soccer excitement begins at 4pm.  Join our Latino community for a family-friendly event at CPMS, beginning at 7pm.

 

cedar park's day @ BSD clothes closet     WED, OCTOBER 31

Join other CPMS parents as we staff the Beaverton School District's Clothes Closet from 9:15-4:15pm.  Volunteers will sort donations as well as work the store. Look for shift sign-up soon.  More info regarding this valuable BSD program can be found here.

 

Coffee & Tea with Dr. Anderson     Tuesday, November 27

NEW THIS YEAR!  Don't miss out on Dr. Anderson's generous offer to sit down and chat about all things CPMS.  Have your questions answered!  Morning session at 8:45am.  Evening session at 6pm.

 

Additional dates will be added, including Volunteer Orientations and choir/band concerts.  Be on the look out for more info as the school year progresses.

Looking for the District's 2018-19 calendar?  FIND IT HERE.

 

Advice from the Trenches: Veteran Parents Offer Insight

Let’s face it, folks.  Middle school can be scary and intimidating for parents and students alike.  As part of our community survey last spring, we asked CPMS parents to share any hard-earned knowledge. Here’s that sage advice from our veteran parents who have spent time in the tween trenches.  We can all learn a thing or two to up our game!

 

Supplies

  • Buy the biggest binder you can with a zipper, no matter what the teachers tell you.

  • Buy lots of tape-- your kids go through it fast.

  • Remember that your kid has a PE shirt which may need periodic washing. Also, go bigger on the shirt size so it lasts three years. Put your name on it or you will never see it again.

  • Don’t get the spirals with perforated pages that come out easily-- they all rip out with constant use.  And buy a few extra spirals at the beginning of the year. The kids have to replace them several times during the year and it’s nice to have some on hand at home.

 

Canvas/ParentVue

  • Figure out ParentVUE and Canvas as soon as you can. Use it often!

  • Set up a Parent Observer account on Canvas.  Even if you don’t check regularly, the system sends you a kind of weekly recap, which is a great conversation starter with your middle schooler about their assignments.

  • Think about getting the ParentVue app.  Makes it easy to check things.

 

Communication with Staff

  • Be in touch with teachers and your child’s counselor about concerns. Teachers like students to email them directly with questions too.

  • Play an active role in your child's success by communicating with your child's teachers and counselor from the very beginning. Let them know what your child needs to be successful and how you will partner with them. Do not hesitate to be your child's advocate for fear of getting over-involved. You can always back off later.

  • There are many different ways that teachers communicate - makes it difficult to know what’s going on from class to class. One teacher uses google classroom, another canvas, another remind. It takes awhile to figure out who does what!

  • Look through your child’s spirals every now and then to find out what they’ve been up to.

  • It's super important to proactively reach out to the teachers with questions, concerns and clarification. They have so much to juggle that some kids may not get the attention they need because they are just getting by--don't be afraid to ask for updates.

  • Attend Back to School night!  Gives invaluable information!

 

Volunteering

  • Volunteering is a great way to see what your kids are doing every day, meet teachers and school staff.

  • Middle schoolers are incapable of being quiet or still for long. If you volunteer in the classroom, adjust your expectations.

  • Middle school volunteering looks different than in an elementary school.  The volunteer opportunities are less frequent (especially in the classroom), so prepare to feel less connected to your child and the school.

  • Do not listen to your child if they tell you not to get involved. Involvement is just different at the middle school level, but still critical for helping your child navigate their way through.

  • Even if your child doesn’t want you at school, there are a lot of ways to volunteer that don’t directly involve them, which means you still get a feel for the school, but your child isn’t embarrassed.

  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to a teacher and just volunteer your time, even if they haven’t sent anything out.  They might have something for you!

 

Parenting Tween/Teens

  • Emotions run high during these years. Your job is to be the steady oak in the midst of that storm. Don't get sucked in to their drama, but do make sure you are a refuge for your child and that you have their back if they need support.

  • Know your child and their strengths and weaknesses. Advocate for them. Encourage your child to strive to be a better, more compassionate person.

  • Talk to your kids. Middle school is awkward for everyone and it is the time your kids need an adult in their life to help them navigate challenges at school, with friends, with changing hormones...find a few minutes a day and just talk to them.

  • Your child should be prepared to be self reliant and organized.

  • Do some reading on executive function in teens (just google it).  There is so much development happening in their little brains that it’s important to know what to reasonably expect from them.

  • Do your best to let them be their own advocate with their teachers.  THEY should be emailing with questions about an assignment. THEY should talking to the teacher about a late paper.  Your student will probably hate that, but it’s important to set the example that they are in charge of their own learning and assignments. You can always step in later, but give them the chance first.

  • Grades are secondary.  The most important thing to be teaching them right now are study skills and organization.

  • Since IB grades are 1-8 and most are year long goals, don’t be surprised if scores are low at the beginning of the year. Twice a year, those numbers are converted to grades ie 6.5-8 = A, etc.

  • While tempting, this is NOT the time to back away from our kids. Stay as informed as you can about their life and struggles.

 

Social

  • Have your kid do after school activities with other Cedar Park kids - it's about the only way you'll meet other kids and their parents.  

  • After school clubs start in October so keep a look out for the sign-ups!

  • Get to know your kid's friends. Have them over to your home after school/weekends.

  • Don’t worry about your child having to share a locker. They get to spend time getting to know their classmates before a choice is made for a locker-mate.

  • If your child is placed in a team with few to no good friends from elementary school, he/she will be fine. My daughter has made a whole new set of friends this year on her team and still has all her good friends from elementary school.

 

Chromebooks

  • Realize that the kids all have a google account through BSD, which means they can go to google hangouts whenever they want.  

  • Be sure you are monitoring what they are doing on their chromebook at home because they probably have more access to things then you think.

  • Per Dr. Anderson, PARENTS are in charge of the chromebook at home.  At school, teachers have a program that tells them if a child is on a site that is not a part of the curriculum.

 

Other

  • Read the emails that are sent to you!! It has a lot of great info :)

  • It's not scary. Staff are super supportive.

  • Add as many neighbors as you can to your emergency pick up list.  When there’s snow closures, it’s nice to carpool with neighbors and not have to have the office call you to authorize.

  • If your child is burning through their lunch account, maybe just check online to see what they’ve been purchasing.  It will probably shock (and horrify) you!

  • The bus app is actually pretty helpful.

  • Contact Transportation directly if you have bus-related issues.

Thank You 5K Donors: Your Money at Work in 2017-18

Last September, this Cedar Park community came together to fiscally support the students and staff of CPMS.  Our 2017 5K fundraiser (including the accompanying matching funds) raised just over $50,000, a record in recent memory.

The PTC budget provided an amazing number of explicit items for our students through the course of this school year, including:

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  • New Student Picnic
  • Art Literacy lesson for each grade
  • Staff Appreciation Week catered lunch for staff
  • Student planners for the 6th grade
  • PACK store supplies
  • 7th grade field trip to PSU
  • Support for OSU Field Trip for 8th graders
  • All-school winter social
  • 8th Grade Send-off

2017-18 Principal Fund

Our 2017-18 budget also included a Principal Fund listed at $11,500.  This line item allows for specific team, teacher, and grade level requests and is overseen by CPMS Principal, Shannon Anderson.

 Here’s a deeper and more comprehensive look at the impact that fund (and your generous donation) had at CPMS in 2017-18.

FIELD TRIPS

  • Bus to the Special Olympics event
  • Bus to Astoria to visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum

TECHNOLOGY & CLASSROOM SUPPORT

  • Apple TVs and iPad stands to replace eight document cameras
  • Two new projectors for rooms
  • Items for our emerging Maker Lab: stools, robotic hand, sensitized glove, tables, wire strippers, glue guns and glue sticks, cardboard cutters, drills, storage containers
  • Maker’s Lab speaker (24 Knots)
  • Art supplies including clay
  • Gloves for science
  • PE equipment
  • Power cord strips for classrooms

AFTER SCHOOL CLUBS & ACTIVITIES

  • Additional funds to support two new after school clubs: Lego Robotics and Coding
  • Funds to start our Science Olympiad team
  • Table stand for Timberwolves News Network
  • Mathcounts registration
  • Registration for Spelling Bee and Geography Bee
  • Kettlebells for the Kettlebell Club

CAMPUS IMPROVEMENTS

  • College pennants for school hallways
  • 16' projection screen for assemblies
  • SRC classroom mural painting project
  • Mulch and bark for outdoor gardens

MEDIA CENTER & LITERACY SUPPORT

  • Books for the library
  • Wristbands for the One Heart One Choice spirit week
  • Support for visiting author and books - Dan Gemeinhart
  • Replace novels for 8th grade
  • Additional OBOB books

OTHER AWESOME ITEMS

  • Support for Young Audiences assembly last March
  • Lunch recess equipment (basketballs, soccer balls, etc.)
  • Earbuds to support student testing
  • Sound equipment rental for recent Annie Jr. production
  • CPMS t-shirts for 6th graders

THANK YOU to every single donor who made this success possible.  It is through our combined effort that CPMS continues to make strides and improvements to its programs and events.  Our success is indeed POWERED BY YOU.

We look forward to seeing you at our 2018 5K, scheduled for Friday, 9/28.