November Update

Tukes Valley Families,

Happy November! I can’t believe how fast this school year is going by! Thanksgiving is coming up in a few weeks, which means Winter Break is right around the corner. I want to provide you with some updates and reminders about what is happening at Tukes Valley Middle School.

Student Attendance

Our goal this year is that 85% of our students will attend school 90% of the time or more. We want to serve Every Student, Every Day, so they need to be here as much as possible. I have already written to you about the research behind the importance of student attendance, so I won’t go into that again. What I will share with you is some of what we are doing to encourage students to be here every day, on time.

    • Monthly Attendance Challenge: Every month we will have a different challenge for student attendance. In November, the challenge will be as follows:
      • For each grade level, the 1st period class with the fewest absences and tardies (both excused and unexcused) will win a reward. This could be a “pastry party” or a fun reward activity for the class.

 

  • Attendance Letters: In addition to the letters we send to inform parents of unexcused absences, we will also be sending out monthly letters to parents of students whose attendance rate is below 85%. The goal of these letters will be to remind parents and students of the importance of daily attendance at school. We realize that illnesses, appointments, and other life events come up, but we do want to encourage all of our students to be here as much as possible.

 

Energy Drinks and Coffee Drinks

Tukes Valley Middle School does not allow students to consume “energy drinks” at school. These drinks contain an extremely high amount of caffeine and/or sugar. We do know that some parents allow their children to consume these, but a many parents do not. The effects of these drinks on kids’ bodies can vary widely based on the student. Students who are found to have energy drinks at school will be asked to throw them away.

Also, please do not deliver coffee drinks/smoothies/teas to school for your student. These become a distraction and I have directed our office staff to not allow these to be dropped off for students. Additionally, most of our teachers do not allow any drinks in their classrooms other than water. Thank you for understanding and your cooperation.

Visitor Check-In

All visitors must check in at the office during the hours of 7:30 – 3:30 before visiting any classroom or building. This includes recess while students are outside. This practice is in place to keep all students and staff as safe as possible while at school.

Watch D.O.G.S.

TVM is planning a Watch D.O.G.S. information and pizza night for Tuesday, November 7th at 5:00 PM.

Who are WatchDOGS? Fathers, grandfathers, step-fathers, uncles, and other father figures who volunteer to serve at least one day a year in a variety of school activities as assigned by the school. This is a great opportunity for men in our community to get involved at TVM. Watch this video for more information about the program. We hope to see you on the 7th!

Thank you for your ongoing support for Tukes Valley! We have the best students and the best families! 

Brian Amundson

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(Not So Secret) Ingredients for Success!

At Tukes Valley Middle School we want your kids to be happy, healthy, and successful. I know these are all outcomes that you want for your kids as well. Those three outcomes (happiness, health, and success) can all mean different things to different people. However, I do believe that they are all interconnected and have a direct impact on each other. Success in school is dependent on a number of factors, some of which are unique to each individual student. However, there are some other factors that are not unique, and are definitely not secret.

I am a firm believer in “focus on what you can control.” We as educators can really only control what we do for our students who are in class on a regular basis. In fact, student attendance in middle school is one of the early indicators of successfully graduating from high school on time. Students who miss just two days of school per month are less likely to graduate from high school. In short, we want your kids to be here every day. Of course, students will get sick and family events will come up, but regular attendance is important. If your student is struggling with regular attendance please let us know what we can do to support you and your student.

Another ingredient in promoting the success of all students is positive behavior choices. As parents, we want our kids to make mistakes (small ones) and learn from them. Middle school students are at the age where their brains don’t always allow them to make the best decisions. I am a firm believer in providing “supportive accountability” for students, which means that students need to be held accountable for their behavior in a way that is meaningful, effective, and is based on learning. There is a fine line between “punishment” and “discipline.” Punishment taken literally means to “inflict pain,” whereas “discipline” means “to teach.” At Tukes Valley we are working towards discipline practices that are based in the principles of restorative practices. The objective of these practices is to restore relationships that are damaged based on conflict and misbehavior. An example of this could be where a student’s behavior is continually disrupting a class. A traditional discipline model would be to have the student serve detention at lunch or after school, where they would be sitting at a table. As soon as their time was served they would be finished with no opportunity to repair the relationship. A restorative practices model may still require the student to spend time at lunch or after school, but would also include a meeting with the teacher (and/or other students who were involved) to discuss these four questions:

  • What happened?
  • What were you thinking then/since?
  • Who could have been affected what you did and how?
  • What could you have done differently?
    What needs to happen now to make things right?

Research has shown that having these conversations greatly reduces recurrence of the same behavior. The great thing about these conversations is that it gives everyone an equal voice in discussing what happened and how to move forward. Again, true discipline is about learning, especially when we are dealing with students at this age.

If you would like to read more about student behavior management at Tukes Valley Middle School please click here. The linked document is an overview of how we address student misbehavior in general.

As always, please feel free to contact me through email or at 360-885-6250. Thank you for your ongoing support of Tukes Valley Middle School!

Brian Amundson

 

Welcome Back Timber Wolves!

Dear Tukes Valley Families,

I hope this finds you enjoying this beautiful August weather that we have been having. I also hope that  your family has had some time to relax and spend time together this summer. I know that for my family this time of year always brings mixed emotions in that our kids are looking forward to seeing their friends again, but not necessarily excited about getting back to the “daily grind” of school. It is always my hope that our students at Tukes Valley Middle School are looking forward to returning to school to see their friends and our staff.

Our staff is busy getting ready for the year. Our custodial crew has worked extremely hard this summer to prepare our facilities for our students and staff. Please thank them when you have the opportunity. Our office staff has been busy preparing student schedules, enrolling new students, and updating processes and procedures. Our teachers are preparing their classrooms and lessons and activities for our students.

As we prepare for the return of our students there are some topics that I want to be sure to bring to your attention.

Back-to-School Night

We would like to invite you and your student to our Back-to-School Night on Tuesday, August 29th from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. Students will be able to pick up a hard copy of their schedule, find their classrooms, and meet their teachers. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Student Attendance

At Tukes Valley Middle School we believe in creating and sustaining an environment in which ALL learners can be successful.  That being said, I am a big believer in “focus on what you can control.” One variable that is often outside of our control as a school is whether or not a student attends school on a regular basis. One of our areas of emphasis this year will be on student attendance. As a school we are committed to providing learning experiences that are engaging, rigorous, and relevant to the lives and learning of our students. When a student misses school, the instruction, conversations, and activities that occurred during class can not easily be replicated, although the “content” can be made up. Our goal is that 100% of our students will attend school at least 90% of the time. Student attendance will be a major focus for our school this year.

Dress Code Reminders

At Tukes Valley Middle School we strive to ensure that we have a learning environment that allows for all students to be successful. Our dress code policy is an attempt to maintain a level of academic focus. Dress codes are never easy to enforce with 100% consistency, but we do our best. Please be sure to review the “no bare zone” information that is included at the end of this letter. The “no bare zone” includes holes in clothing. For example, holes in jeans that expose skin or undergarments above mid-thigh are not allowed. Students may wear tights or leggings under jeans to solve this. Also, this rule applies to the “sagging” of pants/shorts that may also expose undergarments. As a father of three teenage children, I do understand the tug-of-war that exists between current fashions and school dress codes. I have been accused of “being the principal” at home on a few occasions! However, I do feel strongly that we have to have a standard of what is acceptable at school and we will do our best to be consistent with enforcement. Dress code concerns will be handled delicately and will not seek to single out or otherwise embarrass a student. The full dress code expectations can be found in our student handbook on the Tukes Valley website.

Communication

Timely and clear communication between families and the school is vital for our students’ success. At Tukes Valley we are committed to continually improving our communication with families. One question that comes up often is, “what method of communication is best for our families?” The answer is, there isn’t just one! Here is a list of ways that our office will communicate with our families:

  • Our school website: http://tvm.battlegroundps.org/
  • Email & Phone Calls through Skyward and Blackboard Connect
  • TVM Facebook page-Tukes Valley Middle School
  • Twitter – @TukesValleyMS


One important way that you can help us to keep in contact with you is to make sure that your email and phone numbers are correct in Skyward. If you need assistance please contact our main office!

 

We look forward to seeing our students again very soon! Please know that you can contact our office with any questions. Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Sincerely,

Brian Amundson

Principal