Principal Podcast 9/21/2015: Weekly Classroom Newsletter

Principal Podcast: Weekly Classroom Newsletter – YouTube.

Principal Podcast 9/15/2015: On Track / Off Track

Principal Podcast 9/15/2015: On Track / Off Track – YouTube.

Letter to Parents Regarding First Week of School

Original Letter Here

Friday, August 28, 2015

Greetings to the Mustang Community!

What a great start to the school year! We searched the country to find the most talented, passionate, student-centered teachers who have a track record of building strong relationships and classroom cultures while holding students accountable to high expectations. As a result of our teacher dedication and detailed planning for a strong school culture, we could not be more pleased about how Student Culture Week has gone. We appreciate your and your child’s patience this week as we establish strong procedures, routines, and expectations that lay the foundation for a positive school culture; believe us when we say that we are JUST as eager to dive into academics as you are! This week, we:

  • Taught all-school routines and procedures for entering the building in the morning, classroom entry & exit, Do Now expectations, a minute of mindful breathing at the start and end of class, procedures for entering the auditorium for assemblies, and more!
  • Engaged students in conversations regarding positive culture, empathy among students, conflict resolution, ability to connect grit and positive mindset with success, and goal-setting.
  • Reviewed the expectations in the student handbook; the classroom discipline ladder, the new “on track / off track” monitoring system for academics, behavior, and attendance; and expectations for Mustang Meeting, the Mustang Folder, and the Weekly Journal that should have notes in it from each class and will come home to you in the Mustang Folder on Fridays.

“Consistent expectations keep students happier because it is easier to know what to do…You can set up a beautiful vision for student culture, but if you don’t practice, it will only last a week.” – Bambrick-Santoyo, Leverage Leadership

Next week, teachers will begin to introduce content, doing so in the context of setting up their own particular classroom routines and procedures and providing students with opportunities to practice.

Lastly, we want to ensure that you have information regarding some new initiatives, changes in student monitoring, the importance of Mustang Meeting, our new math program, and communication with families.

Mindfulness Initiative:

Students will begin and end each period with one minute of “mindful breathing.” This allows them to focus on class and calm their hearts and minds, providing a greater level of calm and focus both in the classroom and in the hallways. To further support this, students will engage in lessons in Mindfulness practice, taught by qualified Mindfulness instructors during one class at the start of every week.

On Track / Off Track:

To better prepare our students for high school and beyond Morey, we are monitoring student progress more closely in the areas of academics, attendance, and behavior, and will keep in frequent communication with students and families about whether their students are “on track” or “off track” with metrics that combine those areas. Students are expected to have no behavior referrals, a 2.5 score average or higher with no scores of 1 in any class, and 95% attendance. Students who meet those guidelines consistently will have the opportunity to engage in a student field experience celebration at the end of each quarter; students who are off track will have opportunities throughout the quarter to recover missed assignments, make up missed time in class, or repair the harm caused during behavior incidents. Students who do not get back on track by the end of the quarter will not be eligible for the quarterly incentive.

Mustang Meeting:

All students will attend a 40 minute advisory period on the first day of each week called Mustang Meeting. During this class, students will show that they obtained parent signatures on their Weekly Journals, and have the teacher check their binders to ensure that they are organized. They will have conversations about on track / off track, engage in lessons on grit, optimism, social intelligence, and empathy. They will set and track goals and have the chance to celebrate one another’s successes

Teach to One Math:

We are excited to roll out our new math program! Math teachers have been participating in the school-wide culture work this week, but have also begun the process of beginning to train our students in the curriculum and procedures that go with this new system. We look forward to engaging students in the process.

Parent Communication:

Mustang Folders will be the primary tool of teachers to communicate en masse with all of their families, from weekly newsletters home to the Weekly Objective & Homework Journal. Starting on September 4 at 8 am, there will be an opportunity to have coffee with Principal Tonk every two weeks in the conference room. We plan for a weekly audio message, in addition to the parent newsletter that will continue to go home via email.

Students, parents, and teachers have been sharing their stories all week long of their successes with students and their efforts to build a positive school culture. Student after student continues to share with staff that they are happy that we have begun the year this way, and that they are optimistic that we are laying the foundation for academic successes all year long. Our challenge now is for consistency and we are confident that we are up to that challenge.

Please feel free to contact us at any time. Your feedback is welcome and appreciated.

Noah Tonk



Morey Middle School

Twitter: @MoreFromMorey


Presentation to 6th Graders & Parents, August 24

Meeting with Principal Noah Tonk on June 11

2015/2016 Returning Families and New Families are invited:
Meeting to discuss:
A New and Innovative Math Program
Strategies for a positive school culture
o Date: Thursday, June 11
o Time: 6:30pm
o Location: Morey Library

Free mental health, physical health, and dental over the summer for DPS students!

Check out a brochure with location information in both English and Spanish. click here for more information!