“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” Carl Jung

Happy September Oskaloosa Middle School Families and Community Members:

Welcome to the September edition of Principal Scholes's monthly newsletter! I appreciate you taking the time to read this month's edition to stay current on many of the recent happenings at Oskaloosa Middle School! In this month's edition, I will be highlighting our building staff's professional learning focus as the 2021-22 school year gets underway, discuss the middle school's continued efforts to promote a positive school culture, make note of efforts made to increase staff, family, and community engagement and support, and make note of our building's continued focus to provide an aesthetically appealing and safe building for our students.  

Professional Learning Focus (Summer):

OMS School Leadership Team (SLT) Meets: On August 6, members of the established School Leadership Team (SLT) at OMS for the 2021-22 school year met to work on establishing goals for the various initiatives that will be pursued at the middle school this year. Led by Mr. Scholes, the group reviewed and refined its “Why”, “How”, and “What” for the year, reviewed and refined norms for operating meetings effectively, and set goals and action plans for the building initiatives for the 2021-22 school year (in alignment with the district’s defined goals). 

OMS Hosts Ed Camp Learning Structure for Teacher Professional Development: During the first week back with all teaching staff, Mr. Scholes decided to implement professional development sessions with his staff in an “Ed Camp” format. Learning sessions, consisting of small staff groups, were developed for staff on topics that would benefit them towards the work and initiatives that the building is set on accomplishing over the course of the school year. Ed Camp sessions were held in short, purposeful time increments that were facilitated by different leaders in the building that Mr. Scholes identified to be able to deliver powerful learning to staff. Some of the Ed Camp Sessions were mandatory and some of the sessions were choice-based for staff, based on their level of interest and need on the specific topic. Some of the sessions included: Communicating effectively with parents, goal setting using the Iowa Instructional Framework, Self-Care, Academic Interventions, and Working with an Instructional Coach, just to name a few.

Promoting a Positive School Culture: 

Principal Chats: As the 2021-22 year gets underway, Mr. Scholes is making the commitment to meet individually with each student in the middle school to discover his student’s interests and intended goals for the school year. His goal is to meet with at least one student from each grade level each day over the course of the year.

OMS Hosts Welcome Back to School Boot Camps: In order to help the incoming 6th grade class prepare and acclimate to middle school nuances, a Welcome Back to School Boot Camp was held on Friday, August 13 from 9:00-11:30am. A Boot Camp was also held for incoming 7th graders from 1:00-3:00pm on August 13 to help them with the transition from 6th to 7th grade. 109 families registered their 6th grade students for the event and 95 families registered their 7th grade students for the boot camps provided.

OMS Staff Receive In-Control SEL Training: On Thursday, August 19, middle school staff received training on a new program called In-Control SEL. This program supports the 5 Core Competencies affiliated with Social Emotional Learning. Jeff Becker provided the interactive training to staff. Teaming In-Control SEL with the other SEL tools already being utilized by the middle school will help reinforce the building’s goal to build a positive school culture for the development of the “whole” child.

Focus on Increasing and Supporting Staff, Family, and Community Engagement: 

Family Communication Commitment: Over the summer and throughout the school year, Mr. Scholes provides weekly news stories to parents and a monthly newsletter to keep parents and community members as informed as possible with happenings at OMS through the building website/app. In addition, staff have begun utilizing the district/building communication plan created by district administration by making positive contact with families of students and creating monthly newsletters as teacher teams to inform parents of student learning.

OMS Hosts 6th Grade/New to District Parent Orientation and 7th/8th Grade Open House Event: To help acclimate students and parents to middle school, a 6th Grade Orientation/Open House was held for students and parents on Thursday, August 19 from 5:30-6:00pm at the George Daily Auditorium and middle school. Following this, returning 7th and 8th grade students were able to come to the middle school between 6:00-7:00pm to see their teachers, get their chromebooks, and receive their locker assignments for the year.

Creating an Aesthetic and Safe Learning Environment: 

SRP Update: Oskaloosa Middle School Staff and Teachers reviewed the Standard Response Protocol (SRP) on August 17th. The training provided guidance for emergency protocols and also set teachers up to successfully review the same procedures with students in Advisory on August 25. OMS staff also reviewed a Seizure Training Resource before students started school on August 23.

Thanks again for taking the time to read my newsletter this month! We are very excited to have your child back at school! Please continue staying healthy and taking care of yourselves and your families as we move into the fall season! We appreciate all you do to support us here at OMS!

Yours in Education,

Mark T. Scholes, Principal
Oskaloosa Middle School