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. 

Dismissal and Parking Reminder

School begins every day at 8:10 am with a brief advisory period. Attendance and opening activities are completed during this time, allowing for students to get off to a positive start to their school day. Please do your best to have students arrive at school on time.

At the conclusion of school, students may not be picked up at the 7 East Building at the conclusion of school. Students may be picked up in car line, at the Devey Building or along the curbs along West Market Street. New Street should not be used for pick up at the conclusion of the day either.

Also, please do not park or use the admissions parking area next to the Devey Building. This area is reserved for our visitors to campus. We realize this is an adjustment and appreciate your ongoing cooperation and attention to the safety of all students and faculty members.

 

Health Records – Important Notice

Thank you to all of the families who have submitted their health records. Please note that all new families require a new dental and physical exam as well as their immunizations record from their previous school.

A physical exam is required for all sixth graders and a dental exam is required for all seventh graders.  Also, seventh graders also require 1 dose of tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap) and 1 dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV).

Thank you for your attention and assistance in this matter.

Advisory Covenants and Flags

Each school year, all middlers are assigned to an advisory group. Morning advisory period is a very important time during the school day for both students and teachers. This time allows all of us to start our day in a positive manner. This advisory group is home base every morning for morning circles, discussion about a recent life event, and for students to build connections with a teacher. Advisory groups typically average between 9-12 students all of whom are in the same grade.

To build a stronger relationship with each group and between students, each advisory group designs their own flag and writes a group covenant (or group agreement) early in the school year. The advisory flag is then hung in the Cafetorium for the remainder of the school year while the group covenant is hung in the advisory homeroom location. A covenant is an agreed upon statement of expectations that all students in that group are expected to adhere to throughout the year.

Here are some examples of what the advisory groups have created this school year.

Further your Child’s Music Education through Private Study

Moravian Academy is fortunate to have two outstanding resources to further your child’s music education through private study.  The Community Music School offers after-school private lessons for many different instruments and voice and hosts these lessons in our own facilities on the Downtown Campus.  The Moravian College Music Institute also offers many different types of lessons including Suzuki instruction, and they are just a short walk away at the corner of Church and Main Streets.  Both the Lower and Middle Schools have Extended Session care in case there is a need before or after lessons.  Please see the attached informational brochures below.  We hope you’ll take advantage of these wonderful programs.

Community Music School

Moravian College Music Institute

Middle School Parents’ Night – September 26

Parents’ Night is an important night in the life of a school. It’s a chance to shine a light on programming, introduce new and returning faculty members, get to know what students will be exploring in their classes, and build relationships with everyone in our community.

We will officially begin at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, September 26 in the 7 East Cafetorium. For those able to attend, Mr. Zemsky will provide a presentation on the new strategic vision of Moravian Academy at 6:00 pm.

Registration:

Parents should pick up a name tag at the registration table located in the foyer of 7 East. Parents should enter the door closest to the corner and traffic light. 

Student’s schedules will be available for parents that will include an S day schedule. The schedule will include a key that will have the teacher’s name, the course name, and the building and classroom where the course is taught.

Families that have students in multiple middle school grades will need to divide or determine which items they will attend.

Schedule:

6:00 Head of School Jeff Zemsky will present on the strategic vision of Moravian Academy (Optional)

6:30 Parent Meet and Greet; Refreshments will be available

6:40 Opening Remarks 

7:00 Class Visitations Begin

8:30 Optional Presentations

  1. Grade Level Off-Campus Trips (Grade Deans) *Gymnasium 7 East
  2. Moodle: What is it and how does the MS use it? (Alison Overdorf)  *Cafetorium
  3. Student Life in the Middle School (Laura Riker) *Student Center Devey Building
  4. Music Programming (Nate Diehl, Chase Morrison, Rich Fanning)  *Music Room 7 East
  5. Student Support Services (Carissa Casey, Elizabeth Zhe) *Dining Room Devey Building

*The bells will be used throughout the night to announce when to move from one location to another. Five-minute passing time is built into the schedule.

Student Leaders:

There will be a handful of students on campus to assist parents throughout the evening. Students will be positioned in both the Devey and 7 East Building.

Class Visitations:

Parents will be able to visit all student classes that occur on an ‘S’ Day. Each classroom visit will be 10 minutes. Parents will move around the campus similar to a student’s day. Please wear comfortable shoes. During class visitations, a teacher will explain his/her curriculum, provide a syllabus/course overview,  and discuss any special projects or events in the course. Contact information will also be provided. 

Time Period
7:00 – 7:10 Red Block
7:15 – 7:25 Orange Block
7:30 – 7:40 Yellow Block
7:45 – 7:55 Green Block
8:00 – 8:10 Blue Block
8:15 – 8:25 White Block

 

Optional Presentations:

There will be optional presentations for parents to attend beginning at 8:30 pm at the conclusion of the classroom visits. Parents may choose from five different presentations hosted by a member(s) of the MS faculty. Presentations should be 10-15 minutes with a little time for Q&A following.

Common Sense Media – Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences

As you’ve seen with recent Comenius blog posts, social media dominates the lives of many teenagers. Common Sense Media recently released some updated findings on teens and social media use.

In the article, infographic, and video, teens reveal their experiences on social media.

September 11 Commemoration

The Middle School commemorated the men and women who lost their lives during the September 11, 2001 attacks on our country with a moment of silence following the Pledge of Allegiance today.

A handful of teachers embedded this historic day into their classroom lessons and invited conversation with students, including seventh grade American History, taught by Mr. Lucas, and seventh grade English, taught by Mr. Brennan. While in Washington DC in November, the eighth grade will also visit the Newseum and explore the 9/11 exhibit honoring the fallen, see artifacts from this fateful day, and explore this event and its impact on our country and the world.

 

Red and Gold Games Day – Friday, September 14

The annual Red and Gold Games Day competition is right around the corner. This year, the games will occur on Friday, September 14. The Middle School will run a modified schedule on this day, including some additional time in advisory groups and grade level activities. All middlers will ride school buses to the Merle-Smith Campus and enjoy a morning of athletic games and lunch. Following the competition, all middlers will return downtown for a regular dismissal.

It is a non-uniform day, and students are encouraged to wear their team colors. Dress guidelines for the day are included here. We look forward to a great day of school pride!

Spring Break Trip to Canada – March 2019

We are very excited to announce a wonderful opportunity to travel to Canada during Spring Break 2019!

This trip is available for ALL seventh and eighth-grade students at Moravian Academy Middle School. The group will depart on Friday, March 8th and will return on Tuesday, March 12th. French and Non-French speaking students will use their language skills in real life situations and will have the opportunity to explore Canadian history and culture through a variety of activities. This trip will include visits to Old Montreal, Notre-Dame Basilica, Quebec City, the Plains of Abraham, Chateau Frontenac, Montmorency Falls, and attending a professional ice hockey match.

Here is a video from our trip last year:

International travel nurtures academic and personal growth. Being in a new place encourages students to explore their curiosities, to adapt to a culture different than their own, and to delve into other parts of the world outside the global language classroom. Cultural immersion tours are an excellent resource for learning.

Jumpstreet Tours is a reputable company, which we used two years ago on our first expedition to Canada. Below is some additional information from Jumpstreet Tours:

✔ Safely and securely traveled over 500,000 students
✔ Thrilling destinations and customizable student travel itineraries
✔ Elite Tour Leaders trained by us and available exclusively to you
✔ Online payment and registration services
✔ A dedicated healthy and safety team around the clock
✔ Trip-planning support that helps you boost enrollment
✔ $25 million in liability insurance
✔ Financially backed by Travelopia

Interested families, can begin the sign-up process by creating an account with Jumpstreet Tours, our tour company, at https://portal.jumpstreet.com

The tour code is TD6MAMC. The cost of the trip is approximately $1200 with 20 students participants, which includes motorcoach transportation, hotel stays, admission fees, and most meals. Additional information can be found here, including the sign-up deadline, information regarding a passport, and a timeline of events.

For additional information about the 2019 Spring Break trip to Canada, please contact Mrs. Emily Quinn at equinn@mamail.net.

Middle School Back-to-School Dance

Our Middle School students celebrated the start of the new school year with a Back-to-School Dance on Thursday, August 30th.

(Photo Credit: Joanne Daniels)

Students danced the night away, took silly pictures in a photo booth, and enjoyed pizza and other snacks. A fun time was had by all!

Parents – Thank you for your patience as we implemented some new dismissal procedures for our evening dance events. We are working on our safety measures for dismissal at social events to ensure a safe pick up for all students and all families. Our goal is always to provide a safe environment for each student and family. We learned a few items and will have them corrected for our next school dance on Friday, November 1.

Middle School Recess

Last week, our Middle School students took full advantage of their new post-lunch access to the gym.

Pick Up and Dismissal (Middle School)

With our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and security of our community, we are making an adjustment to our student pick up procedures to ensure that every child is being picked up by an adult or person who has been approved by the parents. All student pickups at the end of the school day by parents or another family member should occur at the Devey Building, along Market Street in front of the Devey Building, or in the Lower School 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. Students with an advisory in the 7 East building who go back to their locker at the end of the school day will need to depart from the Devey Building or be picked up in carline.

For the safety of everyone involved, please do not double park along Market or New Streets and also, please use the crosswalks designated for pedestrians. A crossing guard will assist with crossing students and families.

Thank you for your understanding and helping us ensure a safe campus.

 

Extended Day

The Middle School offers extended care each day school is in session. Mr. Brennan coordinates the Extended Day program. Pre-registration is not required. Students report directly to the Student Center at 3:00 and are expected to check-in and check-out when departing. Extended Day is open until 6:00 and parents will be charged an additional $35 late fee if pick up occurs after 6:00.

When parents or a caretaker arrive at the Devey Building (11 West Market Street) to pick up, they must report to the front door and ring the call box or call the Main Office phone number (610-866-6677). Please do not call or text your student(s) to leave Extended Day on his/her own.

If a student leaves Extended Day for tutoring at the Lower School, he/she will need to check out, and the tutoring teacher will need to pick up the student in the Middle School.

Safety & Security Update

A new feature that will appear once a month in Comenius Corner is a safety and security update.

As Mr. Zemsky mentioned in his back-to-school letter, safety and security are a priority for all of us, and as we go through the year, we want you to know what we are doing. We will be holding an information session in the future, but we wanted to update you on actions that are in process now.

In June, Bo Mitchell, President of 911 Consulting, conducted an assessment of Moravian Academy’s facilities, protocols and policies.  Last week, he shared his assessment with members of the Academy’s leadership team and provided an overview for members of the Academy’s faculty and staff.  We are now processing those findings and will develop a plan and timeline for moving forward on his recommendations.

As we are doing this, we have also set a few new protocols for this year that include the following:

Identification Badges:

This year, all Moravian Academy employees have been issued Moravian Academy badges that will be accompanied by a photo ID after picture day.  In addition, contractors, visitors, volunteers and trustees will also be issued badges to wear when they are in the buildings. We want people to know that anyone wearing this badge may be in a Moravian Academy building, but we are not to open doors for others to enter the buildings unless they have identified themselves.

Door Answering Protocol:

Anyone arriving at our buildings will be asked to identify himself /herself on the call box and on entering must sign in and take a badge to wear during the visit.  On exiting the building, individuals must sign out and return the badge. Please know that this is important as we are responsible for all individuals in our buildings during the day.  Should there be a fire drill or a reason to leave the building, we need to know that we can account for all individuals. Also, if someone answering the door does not recognize you or know you, you will be asked to provide some method of identification.

Students Passing Between Classes:

At the Lower School, teachers are accompanying their classes to and from all special classes that require movement from one building to another.

Communication:

Two-way radios have been used at the Lower and Middle School since last spring and we will start to use them at the Upper School this fall so that office personnel can communicate with security personnel and for security personnel to communicate with one another.

Student Support Teams:

One of the strongest pieces of advice for safety and security is to know your students and know your staff.  While we do know our students well, the re-structure of the Student Support Team and the training our staff has had in Developmental Designs, should help to enhance our working relationship with students. The Lower and Middle Schools now have a Director of the Student Support Teams who is also a counselor for students in primer – grade 8.  Along with the School Psychologist and Division Directors as well as the Dean of Students and Academic Coordinator in the Middle School, the Student Support Teams will meet once in every eight-day cycle to review their work with teachers on learning strategies for students.

At the Upper School, the nurse, who is also a certified counselor, will bring additional expertise to the Student Support Team that includes the School Psychologist, Learning Specialist, Division Director, Dean of Students, and Academic Dean.

 

Middle School Picture Day: Wednesday, September 5

Christmas City Studios will be on campus on Wednesday, September 5th to take school pictures. An informational brochure was sent home earlier this week with your student(s). All orders are processed online.

Online ordering may be completed at https://orders.christmascitystudio.com/Login.aspx. The event school code is MORMS18. If you are unable to order online, you may call the Studio at 610-691-2109. Please print out your receipt and give it to your student(s) to bring with them to school.

Students should wear their formal uniform on this day. Pictures will be taken throughout the school day in the Student Center.

“Smartphones, Teens, and Unhappiness”

In March 2018, we shared a post featuring tips that parents should keep in mind regarding their student(s)’ social media use.

As a follow-up to this previous post, I wanted to share a recent article and associated podcast entitled “Smartphones, Teens, and Unhappiness,” published by Harvard EdCast, a weekly series produced by educational thought leaders.

In the article and podcast, psychologist Jean Twenge discusses the research she conducted, which examines how smartphones affect teens’ happiness. She also provides advice on how students and adults can use smartphones in the healthiest ways.

As families set up your new routines and expectations for the school year, consider what your cell phone or smartphone policies are at home. In addition to listening to the podcast, I encourage parents to review the infographic below entitled “10 Apps Teens Are Using That Parents Need to Know,” from classroom technology blogger Appsolutely April.

As Dr. Twenge says, “This is not about taking the phone away. They are wonderful devices, but it’s limited use…Make sure the phone doesn’t become an appendage.”

Launch Day 2018: Ready. Set. Go!

Welcome back to the 2018-2019 school year!

It was awesome having the students back in the buildings today! We opened our doors to 153 middlers many of them with smiles, eager to see their teachers and peers. It was great to hear their stories of summer vacations, learn about their new experiences over the past few months, and in general share in the fun and learning that was had this summer. The energy in our learning spaces today was terrific!

In our Middle School morning meeting, we explored perseverance, which was a theme of our summer readings and is a key Mission Skill for Moravian Academy. All students and faculty were in attendance and viewed a quick film about Kyle Maynard. Reading about perseverance and seeing what it looks like, will hopefully inspire our students to action and personal and academic sticktoitiveness throughout the school year. We also engaged in a turn and talk activity where we discussed a school goal with the person next to us, wrote them on an index card, and will soon post them to a wall in our Cafetorium. 

Following our opening meeting, students attended a few classes and then enjoyed a cookout for lunch in God’s Acre where students were able to reconnect with their peers and teachers, and also be introduced to some new friends. It was a beautiful day to eat outside and have a few extra minutes to play and enjoy our wonderful surroundings.

On Tuesday, all divisions will attend our annual opening school chapel in Central Moravian Church. This is a great way for our students to see teachers and students from all divisions and to celebrate the beginning of another school year, our 277th! Students should arrive at school in their formal uniforms though we are not requiring blazers be worn due to the high heat and humidity predicted. 

The opening day of school is a special time each year, and we are so thankful we get to enjoy it alongside the students. We look forward to a great school year.

Go Lions!

(Photo Credit: Michelle Leyesa, Amey Owen & Stephanie Vasta)

‘Twas the Night Before School Started

Middle School Closing Chapel Video

On Wednesday, June 6, the Middle School celebrated the final day of the 2017-2018 school year with a traditional chapel service. The video from the service is included below. Many thanks to the students, their families and the entire school community for a wonderful school year.

Middle School Closing Chapel

On Wednesday, June 6th, the Class of 2022, 2023 and 2024 were celebrated during Middle School Closing Chapel held in Central Moravian Church. A reception, which included a photo slideshow of the eighth graders through their years, followed the service in the 7E Cafetorium with refreshments for students, families, and friends.