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Graves County Middle School students Clay Hicks and Breanne Farmer are shown preparing a dessert they created through a project-based learning plan..


Life in the Middle (… School) topic of Graves Oct. 9 open house for parents, students: offers ways to help students transition, prepare for different world

             “We need to prepare students for their future, not our past,” educator and futurist Ian Jukes told the Kentucky Association of School Administrators at its 2012 Summer Institute. Twenty-first Century learning focuses on skills such as critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration, cultural awareness, and especially in the areas of career and everyday life.

            “There are so many things that parents need to know about their children’s transition from elementary to middle school and the beginning of a postsecondary focus to prepare them even now for college and career,” said Graves County Middle School assistant principal Alison Gregory. “That’s why we believe this parent orientation is absolutely necessary and it’s why we’re calling our special evening ‘Life in the Middle (… School).’”

            Graves County Middle School students and their parents or guardians are strongly encouraged to participate in the “Life in the Middle (…School),” an orientation at the school Tuesday, Oct. 9, between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Parents and guardians have the opportunity to schedule 10-minute parent-teacher conferences during that time.  There also will be ten sessions featuring different topics in 20- and 30-minute installments that parents are encouraged to attend.            

Sessions will run from 5:35 p.m. to 5:55 p.m., 6 p.m. to 6:20 p.m., 6:25 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., 6:50 p.m. to 7:10 p.m., and 7:15 p.m. to 7:35 p.m. Handout materials will be available to guide parents through the choices available to them.

Those sessions include:

1.      “Can I Get Your Digits?,” an overview of the math digits on-line program

2.      “Gear Up for College and Career Readiness!,” the school district’s participation in a six-year grant and the unique opportunities it provides students

3.      “ILP (Individual Learning Plan),” which shows how to access and peruse a student’s ILP, something now mandatory for all students in grades 6-12

4.      “IPAD, Apps, websites … oh my!,” a chance to explore on-line tools to help students

5.      “School doesn’t shouldn’t look like it used to …,” a primer in how schools are adapting and “rethinking” education in order to prepare students for the next phases of their lives

6.      “KY Testing and Accountability looks different now…,” changes in accountability due to Senate Bill 1 from 2009

7.      “Project Based Learning,” teachers’ and students’ recent work integrating various traditional topics in non-traditional, and even fun ways

8.      “World Language – Spanish,” any parent who has an eighth grader studying Spanish can learn tools to help that child study

9.      “Gifted and Talented at the Middle School,” Jennifer Willis, the school’s gifted and talented coordinator and teacher, will be available to discuss GT at the middle school level.

A tenth session, “What do the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) and STAR (AR) testing results really mean?,” offers copies of each student’s testing results to his or her parents/guardians, what they mean, and how the parent can support the child’s growth. That session will be offered in 30-minute increments at 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 7 p.m.

            The library will be open for students and parents to take Accelerated Reading tests and will host a family read session at 6 p.m. based on the book Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. The front office will be open for any parent needing an Infinite Campus parent portal access code.

            “We hope that parents see the reality that transitioning to middle school is a major step for their children and that this fast-paced world really requires those same students, who just left elementary school within months or just over a year, to start looking ahead to college and career,” Gregory concluded. “Even though both students and parents are a little unsure about changes in their relationships at this age, those students really do want and need their parents’ interest and support. It’s crucial to their development and future success.”

            To learn more, email Gregory at Alison.gregory@graves.kyschools.us or phone her at (270) 328-4896 or 674-4896.

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