Middle School Parents,
In late July, information was sent home in regards to school forms and new hires. A few highlights of what you’ll find in this letter include the new programs set to launch this school year, information on school uniforms & expanded overnight trips, projected expenses for each grade level, and additional information about the first days of school.
There are many things to be excited about for our 278th school year. Three examples to showcase are further use of myMA, the SCORE program, and Developmental Designs.
First, this fall the Middle School faculty will begin to post homework assignments and course information to myMA. Students and parents will be able to log in to the system to check assignments and also to get a glimpse into each classroom’s materials, such as worksheets, videos, photos and weblinks. Students and parents will be able to access this information from any device. In doing so, we will have further implemented myMA and brought more under one system.
Secondly, we are excited to launch SCORE, an independent research learning program. All students in seventh grade will choose a research topic that sparks a deep personal curiosity and turn it into a project that is meaningful and purposeful. The project will begin in the late fall/early winter with research and students giving presentations in the spring on the topics they selected. Each seventh grader will be assigned to a project mentor who will facilitate and guide each student throughout their journey.
Lastly, the Middle School will implement a new advisory program called Developmental Designs (DD). The DD approach brings everyday strategies for relationship building, social skill-building, community safety, cultural responsiveness, and intrinsic motivation to advisory, classes, and across the school, throughout the day. Students feel connected, empowered, and safe to take responsible risks, so they engage more with each other and our curriculum.
Should you have additional questions or need further assistance please call the Middle School Main Office at 610-866-6677.
Moravian Academy uses the Developmental Designs approach to advisory programming. Students meet daily in the morning and once weekly for an extended period. The Developmental Designs approach offers a teaching and learning framework that helps teachers understand and respond effectively to young adolescents’ needs for relationships, autonomy, competence, and fun. The Developmental Designs approach brings everyday strategies for relationship building, social skill-building, community safety, cultural responsiveness, and intrinsic motivation to advisory, content area classes, and across the school, throughout the day. Students feel connected, empowered, and safe to take responsible risks, so they engage more with each other and our curriculum.
Independent Research Program for 7th Graders
During the Student-Centered Original Research Experience (SCORE), each seventh grade student will choose a research topic that sparks a deep personal curiosity and turn it into a project that is meaningful and purposeful. One student may write and illustrate a book for their project while another student designs an app and yet another creates a TED-style video. Students will use the Stripling Model of Inquiry to guide their learning which mimics the Learner’s Journey circle at the heart of Moravian Academy’s Strategic Vision: A Culture of Curiosity.
Based on new research on cell phones, the brain and learning, we are going to trial a few items with cell phones this year in order to determine a potential new policy on these personal devices. As we trial these items, we will communicate the expectations with students and our community. During these trials feedback will be solicited from students. Stay tuned.
Students will be required to wear their assigned keycard and lanyard throughout the school day similar to previous years. New this year, students will leave their keycard and lanyard in their advisor’s classroom at the end of each day. Students who wish to return to campus after 3:15 pm will need to check-in at the Main Office.
Additional electives are available for student choice this school year. Electives will also be semester-length though some will run for a full-year. Further information may be found here.
Expanded Overnight Experiences – Grades 7 & 8
Beginning this year, the seventh and eighth grades will embark on three day, two night overnight trips. The seventh grade will travel to Boston, MA while the eighth grade will return to Washington DC. The expanded experiences will allow students to spend further time learning off campus about items related to their respective grade-level curricula.
International Travel Experience to Puerto Rico – June 2020
We are excited to announce a Spanish cultural trip to Puerto Rico June 6 – June 11, 2020, in partnership with Explorica Tours, a worldwide educational touring company. This trip is available for all currently enrolled fifth to eighth-grade students in the 2019-20 school year and is open to students studying any language in the Middle School.
During the trip, students will experience the capital city of San Juan through tours of museums, gardens, and historical sites while enjoying meals in authentic restaurants. The group will also visit the El Yunque Caribbean National Forest, tour the Camuy Caves, have an excursion to the Bioluminescent Bay, and swim and snorkel in the Caribbean Sea.
To register online, go to explorica.com/Overdorf-7707. The cost of the trip per student is $2,147, which can be paid in monthly installments using the Explorica website. Families can also register by calling 1 (888) 310-7121. Families may register for the trip until Friday, March 6, 2020. The trip will have a maximum of 30 students and will need a minimum of five students. An information meeting will be held in the fall for all interested families.
Additional Choice for Formal School Uniform
On chapel days and other occasions, a formal school uniform is required. In past years, only a school tie was made available for students. New this year, Moravian Academy bowties will be available to any student. Those wishing to purchase a bowtie ($18/each) may pick one up at the Main Office. Bowties will be navy blue and feature the Academy logo. Students may alternate between a bowtie and regular tie if they wish.
myMA Course Pages and Homework Postings
The Middle School will no longer be using Moodle. Beginning this fall, all faculty will be using myMA to post homework and also information for each respective course. Students will be trained on how to access and use this new system early in the school year and we will offer training during Parents’ Night in September for our parent community.
Middle School Student-Parent Handbook
Here is the 2019-2020 handbook. Please review. The handbook is also included online in the Middle School Resources Board.
First Day of School – Launch Day!
The opening day of school is Monday, August 26. Students should be prepared to arrive in their uniforms and with necessary school supplies. Students are expected to be in their advisory homerooms by 8:05 AM. We will run a modified schedule on this day in order to accommodate a picnic lunch, a middle school meeting, and additional time for advisors to get to know their students.
All-School Opening Chapel
This annual event will occur on the second day of school, Tuesday August 27. Students and faculty from all three divisions will gather in Central Moravian Church at 9:30am. Chapel will be followed by our traditional flag-raising ceremony. Students should wear their formal uniform.
School Uniform Boutique is Open
For those wishing to purchase gently used school uniforms, please come by the Middle School Main Office between 8:00 am and 3:30 pm. Items purchased will be billed to the student account. If we do not have your size in certain items, you’ll be able to order through Lands End, our uniform supplier in the Middle School. When ordering school uniform items from Lands’ End (by phone or online), please use our school code – 9000-7404-8.
Projected Expenses for Middle School Families
To assist families with budgeting, here are some projected expenses for the 2019-2020 school year. These expenses include field trips, dances, and SAMS events. The events and prices listed are projected and may be subject to change. Additional events may be added during the 2019-2020 school year.
Student Pick Up
All students being picked up during the school day or at the conclusion of a day, should be picked up at the Devey Building along Market Street. Families may also use carline. The only students who will be dismissed from the 7 East building will be those students who ride the athletic shuttle to Glasser Fields.
For the safety of everyone involved, please also do not double park along Market Street. You may need to circle around the block or park your car in another location. The crosswalks designated for pedestrians should be used. A crossing guard will assist with crossing students and families.
Fall sports teams will officially return to campus for preseason training on Monday, August 19. Please note that the Middle School does not start at the same time as the Upper School. A letter was emailed to parents in mid-July from Mr. Manny Oudin, Athletics Director, and Ms. Christana Crivellaro, MS Athletics Coordinator, with additional details. A copy of their letter is found here.
Sixth graders are expected to read two books, while seventh and eighth graders are expected to read three books. Our hope is that students will blend individual reading and also have a communal experience to discuss issues and values that are important to our community. Early in the school year, teachers both in advisory programming and academic classes will host conversations around these books.
Some readings are provided by the school, while others are billed to a student’s account so they may annotate and write in the text. We are also asking families to acquire a copy of the choice book either online, through a local bookseller, or at a local public library. Here is a copy of the Comenius Corner blog post from earlier in the summer. Information is also posted online in the “Resources” tab once you log into myMA.
A printable copy of the lists of the books can be accessed by clicking here. Lists on Amazon have been created for each respective grade (Rising Sixth, Rising Seventh, and Rising Eighth). The reading lists will also be made available at the local Barnes & Noble bookstores (Lehigh Valley Mall, Center Valley, and Bethlehem locations).
Back to School Picnic
The annual Back to School Picnic will be held at Benigna House on the Upper School Campus on Sunday, August 25. Drop by the picnic any time! 2:00-5:00 pm. Head of School Jeff Zemsky and the Parents’ Association invite you to attend, where you will meet new members of our community and reconnect with friends. Join us for an afternoon of food, fun, games, and music! Bring your appetites, blankets, and beach chairs; we will provide food and beverages, as well as entertainment for the children, including clowns, moon bounces, and other activities. No pets, please. RSVP here.