Vol. XXI • Issue 11 • October 19, 2018

 

Message From The Middle School Principal

Dear Middle School Parents,

At the end of the penultimate week of classes before fall break, it’s amazing to see the energy and commitment that students and faculty have brought forth this week. To be sure, we’ve had the usual fall colds and fevers going around, so please careful attention to sleep and diet in the approaching days. That said, we have one more week of classes until our fall break that starts after classes on Friday 26 October. Here’s to another great week of learning and work together in the Brent middle school.

Here are the important items to note for next week:

This Week’s Article:  This week’s article provides practical advice on how to “break up” with any social media account that you or your child may have. In light of the recent data leakage and breaches of Facebook’s site or perhaps your decision to limit or eliminate your child’s usage of a particular social media site, you should consider using the methods described in this article to help.

Link Here

Fall Break: As I’m sure you are aware, we have a fall break that starts after school on Friday 26 October. Students are expected to be at school on Monday 5 November. If you have any travel plans that require your son/daughter to leave earlier than the 26th or return later than the 5th, please write an email to Ms. Lynn at langeles@brent.edu.ph in the Middle School Office and provide specific information about the absence.

Middle School Homeroom and Individual Photos: Students are scheduled to take their Ganza Homeroom and individual photos starting 12 October and ending 23 October. We will follow schedules that allow each Homeroom and individual students to have their photos taken. More specifically, Middle School students will have individual photos during their PE classes. We will keep students informed when they will have their photos taken.

Middle School 2nd Quarter Try-out Schedule: Please see the chart below for dates and times for tryouts for three middle school teams.

Brent’s New Citizenship Rubric: A main component of our work with Brent middle school students centers on striving to meet stated academic learning outcomes in all classes. That said, we fully recognize that achieving our stated learning outcomes is only a part of what we’re trying to accomplish during our work with our students. We are also focused on developing citizenship competencies, or the traits necessary for student success in their educational settings and beyond. Citizenship is described as those traits that demonstrate a readiness to learn, responsibility, respect, and the ability to form positive interpersonal relationships.

We focus on the development of the person because we value the importance of learning in the service of the whole person. Our new Citizenship rubric serves as an important vehicle for us to create opportunities to work with students on developing their citizenship competencies. Just as important, it allows opportunities for students to self-reflect and for teachers and students to work closely together to examine those self-reflections to gain insights on current behavior and to discuss ways to strengthen their skills.

Please find below our new Brent Citizenship rubric and a list of descriptors that students and faculty use to guide their work together on developing these skills. You will find noted on your son/daughter’s progress report that we are providing three numbered citizenship scores in each class from our new rubric. As always, I’m happy to meet and talk about the rationale for this change and our efforts to work with middle school school students to provide support and feedback for them to grow as learners.

That’s enough from me for now. Please have a safe and restful weekend wherever your endeavors take you. As always, feel free to contact me at any time if you any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

MS Principal

Andy O’Hara
Principal

 

Here are important sections from previous newsletters that bear repeating

New Staff: We have a number of new teachers joining the Middle School faculty, including two internal candidates – April Horner and Mark Leatherman – from the ELC. I am pleased to announce the following appointments to our Middle School for this year:

Madee Abala  –  Student Services
Aris Ferrer  –  Student Services
Kara Gabriel  –  Spanish Grades 6-8
April Horner  –  Social Sciences Grades 6 and 7
Jena Jance  –  Science Grades 6 and 7
John Kelley  –  Math Grades 6 and 8
Mark Leatherman  –  Social Sciences Grade 8 and Religious Studies Gr. 6
Zalee Magpily  –  Student Services
Monica Miranda  –  Full-time Substitute
Edwina Paz  –  Student Services

Reminder About After-School Supervision: Many middle school students remain after school to attend tutorials or other after-school activities, or they need to wait for older siblings who have extracurricular commitments. All the divisional principals are reminding those students who are not attending tutorials or participating in extracurricular activities or who do not have to wait for a sibling that they need to go home at the end of the academic day. If a middle school student has an academic commitment aside from attending tutorials and wants to stay after school to work with classmates in the library, the student(s) should go the library and stay there to complete the work. Students without after-school commitments are not allowed to remain after school to socialize.

BASIS and Student Email:

Brent uses a customized web-based application named BASIS (Brent Academic Student Information System). This allows students and parents to view academic progress and attendance information online through a Student and Parent Portal feature. Grades 4 to 12 parents can track progress throughout the year while Nursery to Grade 3 parents can view reports at the end of each quarter.

For Parents:

Parents of new students will receive an email on how to access and use the Parent Portal. Access can also be requested by emailing itc@brent.edu.ph or contacting the school level secretary.

For Students:

A new student is given an email account where they can receive communications from the school. This will also be used to login to Google Classroom, the learning management platform used in the Middle and Upper School.

New students (Grades 4 to 5) will be given their Brent email account as well as their BASIS access information through the homeroom teacher and/or computer teacher.

New students (Grades 6 to 12) can get their Brent email account as well as their BASIS access information at the IT Center, 4th Floor, Media Center.

Compilation of Weekly Parent Articles:

Week 10: 12 October 2018:  This week’s article is admittedly a departure. It features two profound singer- songwriters, Elvis Costello and Carole King. I know Elvis Costello may not be everyone’s favorite – enjoying his voice is an acquired taste – but I believe he may be one of our greatest living musicians. Carole King ranks as one of the greatest pop songwriters ever. Have you ever listened to her album Tapestry? Or know that Aretha Franklin covered her song “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”?

I’ve shared this article with the MS faculty as well because the artists talk about the beauty of collaboration in all of its forms. Further, they talk about connecting as artists but also about connecting as people. Collaboration and connection: two key concepts we stress here at Brent, and Elvis and Carole talk about the importance of these two behaviors in their interview.

Link Here

Week 9: 5 October 2018:  This article centers on an anxiety disorders and their impact on children and adolescents. This writing isn’t meant to be alarming or cautionary; instead, it serves as a useful resource to learn about the most common mental health disorder in adolescents.

Link Here

Week 8: 28 September 2018:  As parents in this day and age, we all face that crucial conversation that is as challenging as any that we have with our kids: how and when to limit our child’s use of technology. I invite you to read the New York Times article offered below that offers practical, easy-to-follow advice and guidelines on having meaningful conversations and setting viable limits about technology use.

Link Here

Week 7: 21 September 2018: This week’s article does not sit squarely on the topic of middle school education, but it does relate to human cognitive abilities and our inherent biases. Give it a read if you’re interested in such fascinating psychological phenomena rooted in cognitive biases like the gambler’s fallacy, the sunk-cost fallacy, and the Ikea effect. Reading this article should give you some valuable insights into your own behavior as well as others.

Link Here

Week 6: 14 September 2018: This week’s article from The New Yorker magazine is “The Mystery of People Who Speak Dozens of Languages.” It centers on hyperpolyglots, or people who are fluent in multiple languages, such as one person noted in the article who has a command of 22 different living languages and 6 classical or endangered languages. While this  article focuses on this specific phenomenon, it also sheds an interesting light on how our brains learn and apply linguistic information.

Link Here

Week 5: 7 September 2018: Learning from failure seems oxymoronic at first glance, but we know that failure is a central learning mechanism for students and parents alike. Please read the accompanying article “Talking About Failure is Crucial for Growth” from the New York Times to learn more about the importance of failure in our lives and how to talk about it with your children.

Link Here

Week 4: 31 August 2018: Of course, I want all parents to read the articles that I include each week, but I’m putting out a special plea for us to spend time with this New York Times article “How to Have Better Family Meals”. It’s a rather anodyne title for a piece that centers on one key point: families who dine together at home are happier and healthier. More specifically, it enumerates the benefits for our children that stem from sitting together as a family to eat dinner on a consistent basis.

Link Here

Week 3: 24 August 2018: This week’s article is more adult-focused, but I can certainly see its application by our middle school students. It’s about the acronym F.O.B.O., or Fear Of a Better Option. I’ll hazard a guess that we’ve all been in a situation when we have wanted to maximize our options but get stuck in the process, thus leading to indecision or, worse yet, no decision at all. This article should shed some light on this behavior and offer suggestions on how to avoid it.

Link Here

Week 2: 17 August 2018:  Here’s an interesting article from The New York Timeson Fortnite, the video game you’ve likely heard of but definitely need to know more about. It a guide for non-gamers to learn why this game has taken such a strong hold in the gaming world.

Link Here

Week #1: 10 August 2018 :  I’m continuing this parent education section of the Middle School newsletter after receiving such positive feedback the past two years. Here’s  our first article of the year. Appropriately, it’s about eating and sleeping as important contributors to learning. Please take a few minutes to read this article from The New York Times:

Link Here

A Reminder to Parents Who Travel: If traveling requires you to leave your child/ren in the care of someone else, please complete the Temporary Contact Information form. Sharing it with the office will help Brent better handle any security, medical, or legal concerns that might come up while you are away. The forms are available to pick up in each of the school offices. It can also be printed from our website by visiting the newsletter and school calendar pages. Please give the completed form to the office before you depart for your trip. Thank you!

MESSAGE FOR PARENTS OF STUDENTS WITH FOREIGN PASSPORTS: Brent, like all schools in the Philippines, is required to document that ALL students (except for Filipino students) are attending school according to immigration regulations. For this reason, it is very important that we have clear documentation on the visa status for every student.

To this end, we are requiring all students during the end-of-year checkout procedure to fill out the proper form and return it to the school along with copies of their passport’s bio-page, visa page, and latest arrival page. To insure your child can properly enroll for this school year, we need to follow-up on his/her visa status. We have all the support necessary to help with any visa issues, but it is very important we receive the requested information quickly.

Brent International School requires all parents/visitors to sign in and get a visitor’s ID card. Permanent ID cards are available for all parents through the Security Office in the Administration building. When displaying a permanent ID card, parents are no longer required to get a visitor ID card each visit.

Closing of School: Brent International School Manila adheres to the Storm Signal Guidelines established by PAGASA – (the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration). Accordingly, when storm signals are posted over Biñan, Laguna, classes will be affected as follows:

  • Storm Signal #1 Normal Operation: All Brent classes will proceed as scheduled.
  • Storm Signal #2 No Classes or Activities: No students or teachers are to report, however the school offices will remain open for the day. Administrators and office support staff report as usual if it is safe to do so.
  • Storm Signal #3 and #4 No School: The entire school operation will be closed. No classes, offices or activities will take place.

Please be aware that the storm signal for Laguna is not the same as that of Metro Manila. Weather reports regarding Manila, therefore, may not apply to the conditions at Brent.

Every attempt will be made to contact parents, students and teachers in the event of a cancellation of classes. When available and applicable, we use corporate texts to inform those whose cell phone numbers are registered in our system. If you have not heard from the school, you can assume that classes will happen as scheduled.

If you are still unsure, calling the school at +63-2-779-5140 to 46 or +63-49-511-4330 to 33 after 6:00 a.m. or checking to see if there is a notice on our website (www.brent.edu.ph) may help.

Finally, we realize that parents have the ultimate responsibility for determining whether or not their children go to school. Even if no order for the suspension of classes has been issued, if parents feel that traveling to or from school will place their children at risk, we certainly understand and will honor their decision.