Progress Reports – Trimester I

During the 2018-2019 school year, end of trimester report cards are communicated three times a year and progress reports are sent home at the midpoint of each reporting period. Report cards and progress reports will be posted to myMA, our online portal at www.moravianacademy.org. Parents and students will need to log in to see the progress made during each reporting period. 

Progress reports will contain a personalized message from each teacher along with a grade. Comments will focus on the growth and development each student has made through the first half of the reporting period. Report cards will provide a list of grades for each student at the culmination of the trimester. Not all courses are graded in the Middle School. 

Trimester I progress reports will go live to myMA on Monday, October 15. Directions will be sent to parents at this time.

Jordan Sonnenblick Visit on September 28

Last Friday, Jordan Sonnenblick, author of 11 young adult novels including Drums, Girls, & Dangerous PieNotes From A Midnight DriverZen and the Art of Faking It, and Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip, visited the Middle School. With both wit and wisdom, Mr. Sonnenblick shared stories about his life and his inspiration all of which touched upon our mission skills: creativity, curiosity, empathy, and perseverance. Beyond the underlying themes prevalent throughout his presentation, Mr. Sonnenblick specifically and intentionally encouraged all of us to “find something that you love to do; then, find a way to use it to help others.”

Following his presentation, Mr. Sonnenblick visited English classes to interact with students and teach about the writing process.

We’re grateful to Mr. Sonnenblick for sharing his knowledge and talents with us and we look forward to applying what we learned from him not only with regard to writing but also with regard to life and living.

Parent Conferences Are Filling Up Quickly

Book some time with your child’s teacher. This year, conferences will be held on Thursday, October 18 & Friday, October 19. Conference slots are filling up quickly.

Sign up information for parent conferences was sent via email on Thursday, September 27 to all middle school families. Please select an open time using the Sign Up Genius link included in the email. If you are unable to schedule a time on either day, please contact the teacher directly to set up a conference time on another day, to schedule a video call, or to schedule a phone call.

Students are welcome to attend conferences. 

Announcement Regarding Middle School Chapel

As we head into the month of October, an item to be aware of is that on S days we do not have Community Period. When an S day falls on a Wednesday, this means we will not have chapel. There are four instances where this will happen this school year. It just so happens, that two of these four will occur in October based on our rotation of COMENIUS letter days. Therefore, on Wednesday, October 3 and Wednesday, October 17, all middlers should wear their regular school uniform.

Middlers will be expected to wear their formal uniform for the two upcoming lovefeasts in October. Alumni lovefeast is scheduled for Friday, October 12 at 1:30 pm. Father’s Lovefeast is scheduled for Wednesday, October 24 at 9:30 am. Both lovefeasts will occur at Central Moravian Church.

Please contact the Middle School Main Office with any questions.

Guatemalan Exchange Student Arriving Soon

A warm BIENVENIDOS to Mathias from Guatemala who will be joining our Middle School community on October 16th. He will be hosted by an eighth-grader and his family. Mathias will be immersed in the life of a Moravian Academy student until December 9th.

The Middle School has been hosting students from Guatemala for the past five years through the Faces and Our Cultures program. This invaluable opportunity is available each year to families of our eighth-grade students. It is an enriching experience of cultural discovery and resulting friendships that broaden our view of the world.

UNICEF – Trick-Or-Treat

UNICEF is a fundraising organization that works towards protecting the rights of children around the world. For years, our Lower School has participated in the “Trick-Or-Treat For UNICEF” to raise money for children’s healthcare.

To spread more awareness this year, it will be an all-school event. Grades within each division – the Lower, Middle, and Upper School – can compete for a non-uniform day. There will be boxes designated for each grade in the Lower and Middle school lobbies and Upper School main office, where students can bring in what they collect. Individual boxes will also be given to each student in the Lower and Middle Schools.

All profits will go directly to UNICEF, and our goal is to raise $600. Boxes were delivered to each Middle School student during Wednesday, October 17th’s morning meeting. There will also be boxes around the Middle School.

Please join us in raising awareness and working towards protecting the rights of children by participating in Trick-Or-Treat for UNICEF!

Parent’s Night Follow Up

Last evening, the Middle School hosted our annual Parent Night, and it was great to welcome so many folks to campus. A hundred students were represented by a parent.

Thank you to those who made an evening of it, braving the stormy conditions around the Lehigh Valley! For those who were unable to attend, please contact your child’s teacher in order to learn more about the sessions that were hosted.

Here is the photo show from last evening of the first month of school:

Social Media and Middle Schoolers

Parents, I am asking for your partnership with an important item…cell phones and social media use. As you may have seen, there are a few Comenius Corner posts online sharing some information related to student cell phone use and social media. If you haven’t yet, I invite you to explore the blog.

I’d like to enlist your help by requesting that you check your child’s phones periodically and/or follow your son/daughter if you allow them to have a social media account. Please be involved in their digital lives and partner with your child(ren) as they learn about the power of these devices and how they can be helpful, but also harmful. Social media can be a very powerful and wonderful tool when used properly. 

This morning, Mrs. Riker, Dean of Students, shared with students that, “We all have a responsibility to continue to create a great Middle School community even when we’re not here at school. We all know that your social world in school continues to be active after school through your cell phones. Social media is a powerful tool, and when it isn’t used for good and instead is used to hurt and to cause conflict, although those actions take place outside of school they actually impact the real, daily lives of our students here at school.

We explore empathy and treating one another with kindness in our advisory programming, as well as in our Health and Wellness classes. Empathy is also a mission skill and is present in each academic class on our campus. You may recall the signs around the school during last evening’s Parent Night that ask you to think before you take action on social media. T-H-I-N-K: Is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? The vast majority of our students are working every day to create a school where we can all feel safe, valued, and respected. 

The Middle School’s stance has been that when social media posts begin to impact the life of a student on campus that we will become involved. Both Mrs. Riker and I are eager to partner with you at any point as you navigate cell phones and student use. Safe practices on cell phones are important, and your partnership will be most helpful. 

Middle School Parent Conferences

Parent Conferences will be held at the Middle School on Thursday, October 18th (3:30-7:00 p.m.) and Friday, October 19th (8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:00- 3:00 p.m.). Families are welcome to bring their student(s) with them to each conference. 

We are using SignUp Genius to register families parent conferences. A communication will be sent Thursday next week to all families. There will be separate emails sent to each grade level. If you have students in multiple grades, please make sure to complete a sign up for each student. 

If you do not receive an email, please check your spam folder. If the email is not there, please contact the Middle School Main Office (610) 866-6677 or email Mrs. Morgan Wessel

Note:  You will be able to schedule and edit your conferences using SignUp Genius until Friday, October 12 though we recommend you choose your date and time well before the final deadline. The Thursday late afternoon/early evening slots fill up quickly. Conferences will be filled on a first come first served basis. 

Culture of Curiosity – An Alumni Perspective

This month, Head of School Zemsky and the Board of Trustees are rolling out the new Strategic Vision for the school. At the September Alumni Association Executive Board (AAEB), the other members and I had a chance to hear about the plan directly from the Head of School. On behalf of the AAEB, I’d like to share an alumni reaction and perspective to the newly unveiled strategic vision and creating a Culture of Curiosity.

When a new strategic plan is rolled out at your alma mater, the alumni want to know how the student experience will be affected: Will the things that made an impact on me and my journey still be there for future students? Will the principles of mind, body, and spirit still be held dear?

I was happy to hear that at the beginning of the process, the board and the school community affirmed their commitment to the mission. They also set a nice framework around the mission which identifies mission skills, set to be a focus of curriculum decisions and students’ personal learning commitments: curiosity, perseverance, empathy, and creativity.

They then looked at what would make future Moravian graduates “indispensable” in the uncertain and changing world we live in. In the research done on both education trends and the future of the job market, a few key things popped out: 85% of jobs needed in 2030 do not currently exist; 50% of occupations today will no longer exist in 2025; and the top ten skills according to employers has drastically shifted from hard skills 10 years ago, to more abstract skills, such as creativity, complex problem solving, and critical thinking. The school leadership wrestled with this: What implications should these findings have on how we look at educating the students of today?

Moravian’s answer is to create a culture of curiosity, where personal growth, discovery, and building habits for lifelong learning are emphasized. Mr. Zemsky said something that really caught my attention when we were discussing this point; “Learning shouldn’t be something that happens to them.” He introduced the “Journey of a Learner” framework  – generative learning that will help guide how students and teachers approach new concepts in the classroom, as well as how students will actively be involved in their own education, and develop the skills necessary to be indispensable once they graduate.  This framework encompasses not only the mission skill of curiosity but also perseverance and creativity.

The last mission skill that is emphasized in this plan is empathy, defined in this plan as the inclusion and exploration of different points of view that pushes our thinking to new depths of understanding. I truly think that this is one thing that sets the Moravian experience apart from other schools, and this has been true for as long as our school has existed. This skill has deep roots in the Moravian tradition when the Moravians realized they could really use the help of the Native Americans to make it through the tough winters in Pennsylvania with enough food.  Empathy is more than being kind; it is an appreciation of what you don’t know and recognition that everyone has something to teach you. The encouragement of learning from your peers, experiencing new things and new cultures, and expanding your circle sets Moravian graduates apart, and I’m glad to hear that this important pillar of the Moravian experience will not change.

In reflecting on this plan and how the student experience will be affected compared what I experienced, my main takeaway is that this: the school has taken what were some of the best and most impactful pieces of my educational journey and is bringing them to the forefront. Moravian is setting the stage to prepare students for the unknown. Through new initiatives, such as the FIRE (Freshmen Interdisciplinary Research Experience) program, students get a chance to develop the curiosity and the grit that will help them to move on to great things in our communities and the world.

The approach of mind, body and spirit is now more important than ever.

National Concussion Awareness Day: September 21st

Today, September 21st marks National Concussion Awareness Day. Recognized yearly on the third Friday in September, this day is intended to increase awareness and understanding of concussions and support those affected.

National Concussion Awareness Day was founded by New Hampshire student Brooke Mills, who suffered a concussion as a freshman in high school, in 2016.

Below please see an infographic, featuring facts and general information about concussions, provided by Upper School Nurse Mrs. Coleen Kenyon. To view the Moravian Academy Concussion Management Policy and Protocols, click here.

Holiday Hope Chests – Community Service Project

Holiday Hope Chests is a national project to help less fortunate children living in the Lehigh Valley. We will be distributing holiday hope chests during the holiday season. Last year, we donated 175 shoe boxes, and since 2000 the Middle School has donated 1,504!

At this time, we are asking for regular size shoe boxes to decorate and fill. Please note that shoe boxes with separate lids are the easiest to wrap.  Please do not send in boot boxes. Your middler can drop off shoe boxes to Mrs. Stoudt or Mrs. Long’s classroom. Thank you!

 

Fall Admissions Open Houses: Invite A Friend!