Distance Learning 2020Posted by Greg Allison on 8/17/2020 12:45:00 PM
Dear Families (En espanol Abajo),
This week we have been hard at work to develop the distance learning plan for students, staff, and parents at our schools. The plan was finished Wednesday late afternoon and is included in the School Board documents for today’s Board Meeting.
We have included feedback from parents, students, staff, and even community members in determining what our 1st semester schedule will look like. This 1st semester experience will be important to evaluate the schedule itself, as well as how the virus progresses, and then make adjustments as needed in the 2nd semester.
Our goal with this schedule is to balance student engagement and learning while providing a manageable and sustainable load for both students and teachers in this new model. While there is not a perfect schedule that balances both of these needs, we are working to mitigate any gaps that may exist and be responsive to feedback. The major themes of the feedback heard by students, and staff included: Simplify, Align, and Support. Students and families need more streamlined school communications, more structured and focused learning programs, and access to ongoing support.
Known issues we're working on: Gaps of Instruction/Learning for content areas most impacted (like Math and Science) and adapting our course models (core and elective) to provide depth and breadth of learning throughout a compressed timeline. We are also working to develop how IEP and ELL services will be implemented in our Distance Learning model.
Below is our draft model/schedule for distance learning for 1st Semester and attached is a distance learning guide we are developing:
We will start the year running periods 1, 3 and 5 for 9 weeks (or 1st Quarter) and then periods 2, 4, and 6 for 9 weeks (2nd Quarter). Homeroom times are spaced throughout the day to support social-emotional learning and academic guidance. The learning block for each period will include a blend of live instruction, small group breakouts, independent work time, and access to teacher and other staff support.
Our staff are talented, collaborative, and navigating this environment of uncertainty alongside our parents. We are all eager to welcome you to our school and value your feedback as we move through this experience together.
Thank you and please let us know your thoughts and/or concerns.
2nd Semester UpdatePosted by Greg Allison on 3/27/2020 11:00:00 AM
We are well underway with our 2nd semester, and I hope you and your students are finding a strong sense of aspiration and rejuvenation with a fresh start! In addition to our academic focus areas, McMurray is working diligently to sustain a positive, safe, and inclusive learning community and in this effort, we are employing a variety of strategies throughout the school intended to maximize learning, build social and emotional skills, as well as a “growth mindset” within our students that will carry them forward to high school and beyond.
In building a positive school culture, enhancing student voice and engagement is critical in this focus. This year, we continue to support our Executive Council and Sources of Strength, and La Chispa clubs to lead projects that create community, positive and pro-social engagement throughout our school. We recognize that in addition to academics, we want to help develop student’s interests and passions. These strategies include guiding, empowering and engaging our students as leaders toward building an engaged inclusive, and supportive community. Already this year, our leadership and student council have supported projects that aim to build awareness of local and global causes throughout our student body.
Students and staff are continually working to build our school and likewise, the type of world we all wish to live in. We are striving to honor our diversity by celebrating the many cultures represented at school through colorful bulletin boards and integrating this awareness and appreciation throughout our curriculum. Recently, we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., first through a powerful dramatic performance by Tacoma Arts Live called “Get on the Bus” and then through a “March for Peace” and reflection in homerooms. We so appreciate the efforts by many to support building a sense of empathy and inclusion with our students to continue to be curious, get involved in these efforts and care for those around them.
These efforts at building community and a culture of care and belonging are our biggest assets in maintaining a safe and inclusive school. Prevention efforts such as our social emotional learning through lessons in homeroom, and training for students and staff continue as a top priority for our school. We continue our school preparedness efforts to help us respond to any possible threat or hazard. We partner with Puget Sound Educational Service District, community organizations,, federal & state law enforcement, & fire department to update our plans on an ongoing basis, train staff, and practice monthly safety drills throughout the year.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Work with your student to ensure they’re mindful of conversations they have in person and on social media. Ask them not to participate in any group chat that discusses any act of violence against any person or any school. Make sure they know to report any concerns to a trusted adult immediately or through our online Anonymous Alerts reporting process.
These efforts continue to support a positive and supportive school culture and support a foundation for our students to learn, grow, and take care of one another. Thank you for echoing these themes at home and for your support in developing our students as well-balanced and thriving individuals at McMurray. If you are interested in learning more or partnering in these efforts, please let us know if you are interested. We appreciate your partnership!
Estamos en nuestro segundo semestre, ¡y espero que usted y sus alumnos encuentren una fuerte sensación de aspiración y rejuvenecimiento con un nuevo comienzo! Además de nuestras áreas de enfoque académico, McMurray está trabajando diligentemente para mantener una comunidad de aprendizaje positiva, segura e inclusiva y en este esfuerzo, estamos empleando una variedad de estrategias en toda la escuela destinadas a maximizar el aprendizaje, desarrollar habilidades sociales y emocionales, como así como una "mentalidad de crecimiento" dentro de nuestros estudiantes que los llevará a la escuela secundaria y más allá.
Al construir una cultura escolar positiva, mejorar la voz y el compromiso de los estudiantes es fundamental en este enfoque. Este año, continuamos apoyando a nuestro Consejo Ejecutivo y Fuentes de Fortaleza, y a los clubes La Chispa para liderar proyectos que generen un compromiso comunitario, positivo y pro-social en toda nuestra escuela. Reconocemos que, además de lo académico, queremos ayudar a desarrollar los intereses y pasiones de los estudiantes. Estas estrategias incluyen guiar, empoderar e involucrar a nuestros estudiantes como líderes para construir una comunidad comprometida, inclusiva y solidaria. Ya este año, nuestro liderazgo y consejo estudiantil han apoyado proyectos que apuntan a crear conciencia de las causas locales y globales en todo nuestro cuerpo estudiantil.
Los estudiantes y el personal trabajan continuamente para construir nuestra escuela y del mismo modo, el tipo de mundo en el que todos deseamos vivir. Nos esforzamos por honrar nuestra diversidad celebrando las muchas culturas representadas en la escuela a través de coloridos tableros de anuncios e integrando esta conciencia y apreciación a lo largo nuestro currículum Recientemente, celebramos al Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., primero a través de una poderosa actuación dramática de Tacoma Arts Live llamada "Get on the Bus" y luego a través de una "Marcha por la paz" y la reflexión en los salones de clase. Apreciamos mucho los esfuerzos de muchos para apoyar la construcción de un sentido de empatía e inclusión con nuestros estudiantes para continuar siendo curiosos, involucrarse en estos esfuerzos y cuidar a quienes los rodean.
Estos esfuerzos para construir una comunidad y una cultura de cuidado y pertenencia son nuestros mayores activos para mantener una escuela segura e inclusiva. Los esfuerzos de prevención, como nuestro aprendizaje social y emocional a través de lecciones en el aula, y la capacitación para estudiantes y personal continúan como una prioridad para nuestra escuela. Continuamos nuestros esfuerzos de preparación escolar para ayudarnos a responder a cualquier posible amenaza o peligro. Nos asociamos con el Distrito de Servicios Educativos de Puget Sound, organizaciones comunitarias, fuerzas del orden público federales y estatales y el departamento de bomberos para actualizar nuestros planes de manera continua, capacitar al personal y practicar simulacros de seguridad mensuales durante todo el año.
CÓMO PUEDE AYUDAR: trabaje con su estudiante para asegurarse de que esté atento a las conversaciones que tenga en persona y en las redes sociales. Pídales que no participen en ningún chat grupal que discuta cualquier acto de violencia contra cualquier persona o escuela. Asegúrese de que sepan informar cualquier inquietud a un adulto de confianza de inmediato o a través de nuestro proceso de informe de alertas anónimas en línea.
Estos esfuerzos continúan apoyando una positiva y de apoyo cultura escolar y una base para que nuestros estudiantes aprendan, crezcan y se cuiden unos a otros. Gracias por hacer eco de estos temas en casa y por su apoyo en el desarrollo de nuestros estudiantes como individuos equilibrados y prósperos en McMurray. Si está interesado en aprender más o asociarse en estos esfuerzos, háganos saber si está interesado. ¡Agradecemos su colaboración!
Welcome Back to School!Posted by Greg Allison on 8/23/2019 5:00:00 PM
Dear McMurray Students and Parents,
We are honored to welcome you to McMurray Middle School for the 2019-2020 school year. Our team is busy planning for an awesome school year and creating an amazing community at our school! This year school begins on Tuesday, September 3rd with a full day of classes. Student schedules can be viewed on Skyward Student and Family Access, and students will also receive a hard copy along with their locker assignments on the first day of school. Please see attached document for the student supply list and other important information.
We invite all 6th graders and those students new to the district to an orientation on Thursday, August 29, from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. Students will meet their teachers, be welcomed by McMurray Student Mentors and receive a printed copy of their schedules and locker assignments at that time. We encourage parents to stay for their very own event that includes a special welcome from our administration and an informative session with Parent Educator, Yvonne-Monique Aviva, who will speak on creating a positive transition to middle school with a focus on helping your student manage stress and anxiety successfully.
For support from your School Counselors, please contact Yvette Butler if your student’s last name begins with letters A-K and contact Kailey Ketter if your student’s last name begins with letters L-Z. They will be working with these students as they progress through their middle school years. School Counselors return to regular office hours beginning August 26th and are most easily reached by email. Please contact Yvette at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kailey at email@example.com.
We look forward to a fantastic school year! Our highest priorities for the year will be:
- Promoting curiosity, engagement, critical thinking, and academic growth for all students.
- Developing a safe and positive school climate will be emphasized throughout the year, with a focus on fostering empathy, inclusion, responsibility and respect.
- Enhancing positive collaboration with students, home and the community through a variety of outreach, volunteerism, and communications.
This year will commence with our new time schedule, beginning with the first bell at 8:00 a.m. and dismissal at 2:45 p.m., with last year’s “two lunch” schedule continuing. We will continue with Professional Development Days (10:35 start, 2:45 dismissal). We have a couple modifications to our typical schedule, such as the placement of homeroom, and we will share these specifics with everyone as school gets going.
Visitors and volunteers are always welcome and I encourage you to become involved in our school in whatever way you can. Volunteers are needed August 29 and September 3-5. Please see more information on the last page of this letter. Visit our website for information updates at www.vashonsd.org/mcmurray. I also encourage you to check out our PTSA partner website at www.vashonptsa.org.
We will communicate with you this year primarily via email, so please make sure we have your current email address. Report cards will be posted on Skyward and will not be mailed. You may update your contact information via Family Access or contact Barbara Jensen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions regarding the upcoming year, and please see the information following this letter for more specific information about the start of the 19-20 school year. I appreciate your involvement and look forward to working with you this year!
Greg Allison, Principal
Office Opens: Wednesday, August 21nd from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ***Please note that the McMurray office will be closed on Friday, August 30 and Monday, September 2.
New Student Orientation: Thursday, August 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m (See information above). (no transportation provided) ***Ted Brown Music will be here at 11:00 AM to assist with band instruments.
Professional Development Days (late arrival): The first one will be on Thursday, September 12 (School begins at 10:35 a.m. - normal 2:45 p.m. dismissal). See District Calendar for complete schedule of Professional Development days for 2019-2020 school year.
Student Picture Day: Thursday, September 5
Open House: Tuesday, October 1 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Fall Sports at McM:
Cross Country (1st day of practice Sept. 3, 2:50-4:15 at McM Field)
Football (1st day of practice September 4, 2:50-4:30, Locker Room)
Boys Soccer (1st day of practice Sept. 4, 2:50-4:30 at McM Field)
Volleyball (1st day of practice Sept. 4, 2:50-4:30 at McM Gym)
Students must have all required paperwork on file in the school office in order to practice.
How to Register For McMurray Middle School Sports
- Read the following:
- Complete and return the following forms to the McM main office:
Current Physical Examination Form (good for 2 years)
Sports Safety Guideline Form (Informed Consent):
- Pay the Following Fees in McM office:
ASB Card ($40.00—one time only during the school year)
Activity Fee ($100.00 per activity per season)—helps offset the district’s expense for running the program.
*Scholarships are available upon request. See Andy Sears or Mr. Allison for scholarship information.
6th graders may practice with all of our sport teams but may only compete in Cross Country, Wrestling, and Track. 6th graders who are practicing must have the requisite paperwork completed and on file before they can begin practice and must purchase an ASB card, but are exempt from the $100.00 sports fee for all sports except Cross Country, Wrestling, and Track.
Andy Sears (email@example.com) will continue as District Athletic Director this year.
SUPPLIES NEEDED FOR MCMURRAY MIDDLE SCHOOL
All McMurray students will need the following items:
Lock for gym basket
Colored pencils or fine-point markers
Lined writing paper
Blue or black ball-point pens
Additional items may also be requested by individual teachers. Humanities and Science composition notebooks and student conference binder are supplied by the school.
McMurray students and staff often have need of the following items. If you are able to contribute additional items from the list above or below, please drop them in the basket in the office marked "Donated School Supplies." Thank you!
Dry erase markers
Sticky notes (all sizes)
Volunteer Opportunities: Parent assistance is needed in the following areas:
Task Date Time People Needed Contact
Assemble 1st Day packets
Wed., August 28
1:00 pm - 3:30
Barb Jensen 463-8715
Assist students &
7:30 to 8:10 am
3 or 4 people
Barb Jensen 463-8715
7:45 to 12:20
12:55 to 2:40
Terri Vickers 463-8699