Rolling Hills Middle School

Principal's Message

Happy second week of school!  We now have a bustling community of nearly 1200 students and staff.  In many locations that would be considered a town!  The initial days of school have been spent acclimating ourselves to agreed upon routines and protocols, while learning about each other in a safe environment.

Student Safety
So that we may ensure all of our students arrive to school and return to your homes safely, we urge everyone to be vigilant on the streets.  Students should travel in pairs or groups.  Those who bike or skateboard need helmets to protect their beautiful gray matter.  And for those parents who drive, please carpool and travel at a safe speed.  While it is our responsibility to help foster a love of learning in our students, it is our collective responsibility to make certain our children arrive to school and return home safely.

Minimum Day for Teachers
As you know, Wednesdays are shortened school days in CUSD.  Today’s minimum day allowed teachers to work in their departments, discussing assessment practices.  While grades are one measure of student performance, there is much to consider when generating a grade, including but not limited to:

  • Why do we grade?
  • What do we grade?
  • How do we assign value?
  • How do we weight categories?
  • How does a “0” affect a final grade?
  • What is the purpose of extra credit?
  • What if a child learns something previously unmastered later in the trimester?

The conversation was rich in many classrooms.  Staff shared their considerations with colleagues and will share with other departments in the coming weeks.  It is important to realize that while education has changed drastically over the last 50 years, grading policies have remained somewhat rigid.  If it is our goal to build an academic core while supporting students who demonstrate self-direction, innovation, critical thinking, collaboration, and empathy, how do grading practices reflect that?

Back to School Night
As you may know Back to School Night is this Wednesday, September 5th.  We will start promptly at 6:00 pm, and we ask that you are in your child’s first period classroom at that time.  Please ask your child or children for their schedule(s).  This is not a time for individual conferences, rather an opportunity for teachers to share with parents and guardians a preview of the trimester and potentially year.  Should you have individual questions, they are best answered during scheduled email conversations or meetings.

Many campuses have begun to discourage the use of lockers, as they have become targets for vandalism and have in some instances been used to store items that are inappropriate in an educational setting.  Additionally, as education starts to implement 1:1 technology, the need to store items has decreased.

In previous years lockers were distributed to certain grade levels when school started, prior to routines and norms being reviewed.  That proved to cause a number of issues that we hope to avoid this year. 

We are reviewing our locker expectations and usage and hope to have an application process for our upper grade students in the coming weeks.  Because the use of lockers is a privilege, the process will require a student to be in good standing, as well as a parent signature.

Best Wishes
We hope you and your children have enjoyed the opening full week at Rolling Hills Middle School, and we look forward to seeing you all next Wednesday evening.  The coming weeks will feature our first boys volleyball, girls soccer, and cross country competitions, along with district-wide iReady testing in both ELA and math.