Happy April, Winkler Family!
We have had a very eventful March at Winkler!
We are very excited to announce that we have finished our application for candidacy for the IB Middle Years Programme. This extensive document had us document all of the great work we are currently doing and prompted us to think about what we will be "plussing" over the next few years to truly become an internationally-focused school. As we move into April, Mrs. Mann and Mrs. Powell will be traveling to Florida to become certified as level-IB teachers in their Language Arts and Math, respectively. We will be sending six other teachers to a workshop in Atlanta in June to earn their certifications.
We will hold a full-school workshop in June (after students are out for the summer) to prepare all of our teachers for this work next year. And teachers will return a bit early in August to write units and lessons that align to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and IB standards.
I'm also excited about welcoming our rising sixth graders this month. In March, students from all of our feeder elementary schools visited Winkler for tours and information. Then, on Thursday, April 6, we will host families for an evening of learning.
While we are thinking about next year, we continue to put forth our best efforts to empower our current students to grow and learn! Across our school, students are participating in hands-on instruction to help them acquire knowledge and reach understanding. Some examples are:
As we move toward Spring Break, we encourage parents to make sure students are at school and ready to learn! We will be using all of our time well!
Finally, in preparation for the end-of-year, I would like to share the following dates with you:
Thank you again for choosing us to educate your child!
With Winkler Pride,
This month, I would like to share information with you about our transition to an International Baccalaureate Candidate School, which will happen for the 2017-2018 school year.
First, we will be holding our first annual IB Open House and Curriculum Night on December 6, 2016 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. On that night, we will be showing off the wonderful things our students and teachers are doing now and laying out our plans for the IB program in the years to come! I cordially invite you to bring your family for a night of learning, celebration, and entertainment. I will be holding several informational sessions about IB, Karen Hollar, our Student Support Specialist, will hold several sessions to tell you more about our nationally recognized student support structures, and our teachers will be displaying students' work and answering questions about what your child is learning this year. In addition, our band and chorus will be performing and our art students will hold their annual Plate Auction. In the media center, you can visit the book fair.
And to make it even better, we've contracted food trucks from Comfort Foods on Wheels and What-a-burger to be in our parking lot for a delicious dinner! We will also have several options for funnel cakes and dessert. You can pick up your dinner at the food truck and settle in the cafeteria with your family and friends!
In this edition of the Howler, I've also included some brief information about the IB program and our transition. I will be sharing much more and answering questions at the Open House. An important piece of information I would like to call to your attention is that Winkler will be a whole-school IB program, meaning ALL of our students will receive instruction through an international lens. In that same thought, please know that all of the middle schools in Cabarrus County, including the IB programs, offer the same courses. The big difference between an IB school and a traditional school is the international lens through which students look at the content in the courses.
Finally, and most importantly, I would like for all of the families in our attendance zone to know that you do not need to apply for admission to the IB program. All of the students who live in our attendance zone will continue to be assigned to Winkler, as always. To reiterate, if you wish to continue to attend Winkler, you don't need to do anything at all.
I sincerely hope you will come to visit with us next Tuesday night for our Open House. I look forward to sharing the wonderful things happening at Winkler this year and our vision for the Winkler-to-come!
In Winkler Pride,
Happy Autumn, Winkler Families!
This month, I’ve had the opportunity to teach quite a bit around our school. I truly love getting the opportunity to work with students directly and model instructional strategies for our teachers. In my travels around the building, I’m always so impressed at the deep level of work and thinking in which our students are engaged! Here’s what I’ve seen (and helped teach) this month:
· In all of our social studies classes, our students are learning to analyze primary sources to form historical arguments.
· In language arts, students have moved into their fiction units and are learning to analyze different characters.
· In sixth grade math, students are learning to apply factorization skills, seventh grade students are exploring the measurement of various shapes, and eighth graders are working with exponents.
· In science, I’ve watched sixth grade students working with density, seventh grade students working on the layers of the atmosphere, and eighth grade students exploring physical and chemical properties.
In all of this work, our phenomenal teachers have designed learning experiences that require students to meet the instructional expectations we hold at Winkler. As a school, we expect:
· Our teachers to have strong conversations with each other about what to teach and how to teach it.
· Each lesson to be relevant and have a clear objective students are to meet.
· Teachers to provide students with the background knowledge they need to understand concepts.
· Teachers to model how students should complete the tasks and provide students many opportunities to practice for mastery.
· Students to read, write, think, and talk with each other daily.
We will also be beginning our journey to becoming an IB Candidate school later this month. Last week, I met with our district’s magnet coordinator, Carrie Tulbert, the principal at Concord Middle School, and Kristy Bullock, the principal at J.N. Fries IB Middle School to begin carving out our IB transition plan. We have also selected an IB Transition team comprised of members of our Winkler faculty. Over the next two months, we will be visiting several schools across the state including Paisley Middle School in Winston-Salem, East Garner Middle School in Wake County, and Piedmont Middle School in Charlotte. Then, in early November, an IB trainer will spend an entire teacher workday completing our first day of training for our faculty and staff.
On December 6, 2016, Winkler Middle will host our first annual IB Open House! That night, we will showcase our school, give more information about the IB program, hold a band and chorus concert, and display plates for our annual Art Silent Auction.
As always, I thank you for your tremendous support of our school! Please contact me if I might be of any help along the way.
September 1, 2016
Late in the summer, our School Leadership Team met to help revise the school’s vision, mission, and belief statements. While this work is still in progress, we developed some key values to guide our thinking. The principles we value are:
• A safe, respectful environment
• High academic press and strong community
• High standards for all stakeholders
• Diversity, in all forms
• Joy and celebration
• Shared decision making
• Clear communication and processes
• Socially just structures and systems
As we conduct our work with students this year, these values will be at the root of all of our decisions. To this end, we have increased our level of supervision in the hallways and cafeteria to make sure all students are safe, discussed ways to ensure our instruction is rigorous and engaging, and learned new strategies to get to know all of our students and better understand all of the strengths they bring to school! In September, the Leadership Team will begin working on our annual budget and the School Improvement Plan, which we will post on the school website.
I’ve also been amazed at the phenomenal work our students have been doing during the first week of school! As I walked around the school this week, I watched students learning to collaborate, practicing appropriate behaviors, conducting science experiments, building structures, choosing books to read, and writing about who they are. If this week is a preview of what’s to come, I can’t wait to see how much they grow! I’ve been taking pictures all week, and I encourage you to check out our Facebook page to see what your children have been learning.
I’m also excited about the upcoming events. In the next two weeks…
· Our football and softball teams play their first games.
· Out sixth graders will take a field trip to the Cabarrus County Agribusiness Fair.
· Our Heart and Sole Girls on the Run club will meet.
· We will have our first school dance.
· We will kick off our Fall PTSO fundraiser.
Be sure to check out the school calendar so you don’t miss any of the fun.
I appreciate you all choosing to be a part of the Winkler Family! And always remember we are here to help you navigate the middle school years.
August 1, 2016
The results of our students’ and teachers’ hard work are evident in the state assessment data. Each year since 2012, Winkler Middle has been one of the highest academic growth schools in the state! In addition, we have been recognized as a Model School for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support implementation. Our hard work does not go unrecognized: we have hosted several schools from across the state this summer seeking to discover what’s working well at Winkler!
This year, we will also be preparing for a great deal of positive change in the future. On July 18, the Cabarrus County Board of Education voted to implement the International Baccalaureate Program at Winkler Middle for the 2017-‐‑2018 school year. This is a fantastic addition for all of our students! This year, our teachers will participate in world-‐‑renowned professional development by the IB consultants. Please know I am here to answer any questions you have about this change and will be sending you information throughout the year to keep our families in the loop. We will also host a series of community meetings to share information, answer questions, and listen to your feedback.
Again, I’m so excited about the great work that’s happening at Winkler and I’m looking forward to seeing students in August! Please let me know if I can be of any help along the way! And, be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Our hashtag is #WeareWinkler and my personal hashtag is #fromMrW.