Year End Message
June 19, 2019
Now that the swirl of activity at the end of year has begun to quiet, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. While I have called Amherst home for 7 years and have been a part of the learning community at Amherst Middle School for the past 4, this year, stepping into the role of Principal holds a special place. Thank you for your trust and belief in our school and myself. Thank you for entrusting your students to us and partnering with us to help them begin to realize all that is possible for them. Thank you for working with us when there were challenges and for celebrating the successes both large and small. It truly is my honor and privilege to help guide your students and lead Amherst Middle School.
Over the course of this year, many of you have shared ideas to help improve our school community. From ideas around communication and student recognition to facilities and enrichment, your willingness to problem solve, innovate, and build has not gone unnoticed. Some ideas like school breakfast, multiple reporting periods on progress reports, and the new format of our Friday newsletters we’ve been able to incorporate right away. Others are still in the works and I hope to share more over the coming weeks and months. Please know, I really do consider everything you share from the simple ideas to the truly innovative! We are better together so please keep the ideas and partnership coming!
As we head into summer, I wanted to share a few academic notes that may be on your mind. Report cards are being printed and finalized this week and should be in the mail soon. You will also be receiving a NHSAS report (state-wide testing) if your student participated in testing. The report card format will be the same as the last progress report that was sent home in early May and shows your student’s current level of mastery in each of the course competencies (ex. Reading: Literature or Writing). In this report, all of the standards within a competency (ex. Reading: Literature or Writing) are averaged together to produce an overall score for that competency. Next fall, we plan to open the parent portal where you will have access to this report and much more detailed information about your student’s growth and progress. You will also find enclosed, student’s attendance record and a notation if they received Honor Roll or High Honor Roll recognition. In order to achieve honor roll, a student must have achieved a 3 or higher in 80% of the standards in which they were assessed. Or in other words, have shown mastery of at least 80% of their individual standards across all courses. Students who achieved a 3 or higher in 95% of these targets are recognized with the designation of High Honor Roll.
Even though we are concluding one year on paper, the learning truly doesn’t end. Most of the standards students have been working on continue into the next grade, just at the next level. Some students may be at a 2 in some areas and require a little more time to truly master a standard. Next year’s teachers will have access to students’ current level of mastery and work to help them continue to build their understanding through learning activities that support students where they are beginning and grow through the grade level expectations and beyond. This has always been our philosophy at AMS and now teachers have clear detailed information to better meet your student’s personalized needs. In future years, we will work to offer a Summer Institute program for both extra support when a student is not demonstrating mastery of specific competencies, as well as enrichment opportunities for those who wish to extend their learning.
Lastly, many of you have been following our discussion of how to better provide extended and enrichment opportunities to our students who are ready for the next level of challenge. This summer we are offering access, to a limited number of students, to an online resource called Renzulli Learning. We have a few more licenses available and if you are interested, we ask that you ensure your child utilizes this resource throughout the summer and provide us with feedback at the end of the summer. The feedback will help us to determine if we use this resource with students moving forward. Please click here to sign up for access.
I am excited to continue our partnership next school year! Over the summer, AMS will continue to be full of learning as we refine our curriculum, learn new instructional strategies, and grow plans for our community of learners to support the whole child. I wish you all a wonderful summer full of memory making and that essential kind of learning that happens in the unstructured moments that only summer offers. Thank you again for an incredible year of learning and growing! I can think of no other community I would rather call home.
Bethany Bernasconi, Ed.D
Principal, Amherst Middle School