Mrs. Short, Principal

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Short's Info

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Social Media and Children/Teens

Annually during the holiday season I see an increase in student social media use.  As parents, you are your child’s first teacher.  Please share with your student the following information and should you have greater concerns for their social media use and safety, continue to research it and reach out to professionals for advice.    Please read on about ways you can support your student in using social media responsibly.  Thank you for your support and have a safe and pleasant holiday season.

Statistics report that almost 90% of teenagers have used some form of social media (Facebook, You Tube, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.) and nearly 75% have a profile of their own on social media.  Teens visit these sites daily and the likelihood of this trend slowing is minimal.

The Good

Social media is great when

  • teens use it to stay connected to family and friends in a positive way
  • volunteer to get involved with a charity or nonprofit organization
  • enhance their creativity by sharing ideas, music, and art
  • interact with others who share similar positive interests

The Bad and the Ugly

Social Media is negative when

  • teens engage in cyberbullying (Threats and intimidation of others while online)
  • share questionable activities such as posting risky pictures or posting videos of negative or illegal acts
  • Including personal information that allows predators to find them and potentially hurt them

The dangers of engaging in this risky behavior go beyond the moment it is posted.  It is almost impossible to completely erase videos, photos, and snaps from the internet.  If someone wants to find information, they can find it even when teens and their parents have deleted it.  Problems will arise years later from poor behaviors online.  Students will have issues with potential job applications and college applications if their history includes negative online behavior.

applications and college applications if their history includes negative online behavior.

Social Media also creates an unhealthy climate of competition to be as popular or as well liked or “friended” by as many friends as their peers.  This causes low self-esteem in many students. They feel less important and worse about themselves when they make these unhealthy comparisons.

 What can Parents Do?

  • Be aware of what your student is doing online. Stay involved in a way that makes your student feel you respect their privacy but that you also want to make sure they are being safe.
  • Create a Social Media Agreement with your teen. Do this so they know if they violate any of the safe behaviors you have identified for them in order to have the privilege of using the social media, they will lose their phone or tablet/computer and online access.
  • When all else fails, take their smart phones or computers away and delete their online accounts.

What Can Teens do?

  • Be nice. Engaging in mean behavior will always come back on you and you will be the victim in the end.  Being mean results in others being mean back.
  • Think twice before hitting the “send” or “enter” button. Be aware posting parties and dates, phone numbers, etc. leave you vulnerable for predators.
  • Once you say something or put it out there, you can’t get it back. Do not post anything that you would not want your grandmother, mother, father, aunt, uncle or other family member to see.
  • Use privacy settings and do not share your password with anyone.
  • Do not “friend” strangers even if they are friends of friends.

Statistics and information supplied by

http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/social-media-smarts.html#

For more information Google “teens and social media” online.  Thank you.

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California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress- CAASPP

This year is our first official year with the new CAASPP testing system for student testing.  Last year, you will recall your student took a practice exam on the computer.  This exam did not provide you with results as it was a baseline year for the assessment.  This year, your student will be taking a Math and Language Arts exam on the computer.  Both exams are rigorous.  The Math exam will be administered the week of April 25th.  The Language Arts exam will be administered the week of May 2nd.  Make-up exams will be administered the week of May 9th.   All students will be testing each morning during the testing window. Make sure your student is well rested, has had a good breakfast or eats here at school each morning, and arrives on time to do their very best. Please support your student by doing these things and by encouraging him/her to try their best and not give up even when the work is difficult.  Stiern Sharks don’t quit, we persevere.

Attendance during the testing period is also of paramount importance.  Please help us by making certain your student is here at school and on time every day unless they are ill. 

Together We Can Keep Academics at the Top of Our Priority List

 The staff here at Stiern is continuing to work hard to ensure that your student has the best possible education.  We need your help now more than ever before.  Many of the students are coming to school unprepared or lacking a positive attitude about learning.  Please take some time to talk with your student about the benefits of a good education and how to come to school with the right attitude.  We need all of our students coming to school ready to learn. Recent research has shown that individuals who are happy and possess a positive attitude are 31% more productive and successful than those with negative attitudes.  Happiness breeds success.

Your student needs to know you value them having a good education.  You may feel they should know this naturally, but many times I find our children need to hear it often and regularly.  You are your child’s first teacher and their most consistent teacher.  Stiern has so many wonderful and dedicated parents who help make it possible to continue to enjoy the teaching profession.  Together we can help make it even better.  Thank you for all you do at home to assist in your student’s academic success.  The partnership between school and home is the most important partnership we have.  Let’s keep it positive and productive so every student has a chance to succeed.

Patience, Understanding and Tolerance go a Long Way…

Last month we had an out–of-town field trip to the Long Beach Aquarium as a reward for students meeting specific “Road to Graduation” criteria.  The aquarium was enjoyed by all students, teachers, and gracious parent chaperons.  All attendees boarded the four charter buses to make the long drive home and arrive back at school at about 6:30PM.  Part way into the drive home, one of the four buses encountered a mechanical problem and had to turn back.  The Charter bus company decided to send all four buses back to the Long Beach Aquarium regroup and determine what to do next.  Instead of arriving at 6:30PM, the first bus strolled in at close to 8PM.  The next bus arrived at about 8:30PM.  Bus number 3 pulled in to the parking lot close to 9:30PM and lastly, the final bus at 11PM.

I spoke to many parents/guardians/family members who had gotten phone calls from their students and many who had not received any word due to phones without battery after a long day of selfies, snaps, and Instagram.  Almost every single parent I spoke with was gracious, understanding, and supportive of our efforts to get their student home safely and fed.  The teachers on the buses remained calm, addressed the issues appropriately and were able to keep nearly 200 of our 6th graders safe and relatively happy.

Thank you to all the parents/family members, guardians, teachers, and chaperons who were so gracious in their support of the unplanned and unexpected mechanical mishap.  I was blessed with the ability to talk with so many wonderfully friendly individuals and was uplifted by their positive spirits even after a 16 hour day.  We have a beautiful community of people entrusting us to educate their children.  It is an honor.

Thank you.

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Three key elements that have a direct impact on your student’s academic achievement.

  • The first element is attendance.  Grade level standards are very demanding and if your student misses even one day of school, he/she could spend several days trying to complete the class work that was missed and understand any new concepts that may have been taught during their absence.  If your student is ill, please call the school and keep him/her home.  If the absence is for any other reason, do your best to avoid appointments scheduled during school hours.  We appreciate all that you do to have your student here at school each and every day.
  • Behavior and following school and class rules.  Class room behavior may be the number one cause of student’s not learning or achieving academic success.  Even though continual talking, being out of the seat, sleeping in class, or refusal to participate in the instruction may seem like minor rule violations to you or your student, they become major obstacles for the teacher in the class room.  These student behaviors require the teacher’s attention and eventually limit the teacher’s ability to effectively instruct the rest of the students in class.  Please spend time talking with your student about their responsibility to follow the rules so that everyone has the same opportunity to get a quality education.  Those individuals that continually impede the education of other students in the class room are subject to removal from the class room and suspension.
  • Failure to pay attention in class, failure to complete class work and homework, and failure to participate in the learning harm the student’s chances of a quality education and future opportunities.  I cannot stress enough the limitations your student may be placing on themselves educationally when they decide not to participate in class room learning activities.  If your student is bored, ask them what they did in class.  Ask your student if he/she raised their hand, asked questions, completed their assignments, or took an exam.  If you begin to ask them daily what they are doing in school and they never have anything new to say, your student is probably not putting the required effort into his/her studies.

This lack of effort will only become critical when your student is nearing graduation of 8th grade or high school.  Do not wait until then to address these issues.  It will be too late.

We are about 40 instructional days away from your student taking the computerized Smarter Balance Assessment on the new Common Core curriculum.   You, your student, and the staff here at Stiern need to continue to work together so that your student has the best possible chance for academic success.

Thank you for your continued dedication to your student’s future.

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Social Skills and Your Student

It is necessary to remind all of our youth that being kind to one another is critical for ongoing success and enjoyment in life.  Please talk with your student about using polite language and a positive tone when socializing with both peers and adults.  Bad habits are very hard to break and if a student learns to use sarcasm at a young age, it is difficult to break him/her of that habit.  Sarcasm is rarely taken in the manner it is said, especially by children.  Whenever sarcasm is used, the risk of misinterpretation and hurt feelings is very high.  To avoid misinterpretations and negative feelings, teach your student to interact in a kind and friendly manner with those around him/her.  If he or she experiences another person using sarcasm, teach him/her how to deal with it in a positive manner by not taking things too personal and not allowing words to lead to anger.  Teach him/her instead to explain to the other individual that sarcasm is not appreciated and then have them make every effort not to socialize with that person any more.   If we all did our part and encouraged this type of atmosphere at home and at school, we will continue to improve the culture within our community and provide a healthier tomorrow for all of our children. 

Promoting Reading and Your Student

With just a few weeks into the second semester, I would like to revisit the importance of reading for all students.  Research and experience have clearly shown that reading is critical to success in school.  Further, research has shown that parents influence how well children read.  You can help your child by using the following tips:

  • Set an example by reading yourself.  Talk about the things you’re reading and recommend interesting books to your child.
  • Keep reading material around the house.  Buy special books about the hobbies your child enjoys.
  • Take a trip to the library with your child and get involved in the youth reading programs offered through the library.
  • Choose a regular time for family reading.  Set aside one night a week for reading instead of viewing television.
  • Have your child read to a younger sibling or to you.
  • Have your child read a recipe to you while preparing dinner or read instructions on assembling something to you.

Overall, emphasize the positive side of reading.  Find material which is comfortable for your child.  The reading level should not be too difficult or too easy as he or she may lose interest.  Make reading something everyone in your family enjoys.  It will make a difference!

Resources

As your student begins the second semester of the school year please keep in mind that your support at home for your student is critical to their ongoing academic achievement.  Stiern provides many resources for both parents and students to assist their achievement in all academic areas.  We have after school tutoring, clubs, and sports as well as intervention programs for your students.  We have numerous Parent Involvement activities and instructional programs for parents as well.  This newsletter will outline some of those services for you.  If you have access to the Internet, you can also utilize our School and District websites to locate additional information on all of the services we offer.  Our school’s website address is http://schools.bcsd.com/stiern and our District’s website is http://bcsd.com.  It is our plan here at Stiern for every child to be successful and look forward to school each and every day.

Academic Planning and Growth

Our school updates the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) each year in the fall.  School Site Council advises this process.  This plan describes our schools academic history, our goals, and the action steps we will take to achieve those goals.  We have five areas of focus which include, Reading/Language Arts, Mathematics, English Language Development for English Learners, Parent Involvement, and Safe School Learning Environment.  Should you wish to review a copy of our SPSA, please contact Jan Smith at 631-5480 to request one.  Thank you.

Parent Involvement

We know that most of our Stiern students are working very hard to pay attention in class, complete class work and homework, and ask questions when they need assistance.  We have many dedicated students and committed parents.  This is a time of year where students tend to become more interested in social activities and less interested in school work.  We need your help in continuing to support education as the number one priority with your student(s).  Try to:

  1. Have a quiet and safe area for your student to complete homework and class assignments each evening.
  2. Call the school and ask to speak to a teacher if you have a question or concern about the class work or your student’s performance.
  3. Reinforce at home that school comes first before social activities.
  4. Ask questions about what your student has learned each day.
  5. Offer assistance with class assignments or call the school and request tutoring if you notice your student falling behind.

Our students will not learn if they do not put forth effort in their studies.  Our students will not learn if they pay more attention to their peers than they do their parents and their teachers.  Together we can meet their needs academically and help them achieve the success they require in order to later move on to high school and beyond.  Thank you for your continuing efforts in partnering with our school.  There is nothing better than seeing a student smile because they feel good about their achievements. 

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Social Media and Children/Teens

 During the last several years I have seen an increase in the use of social media with our middle school students.  Usually our experience with their online use is negative.  We deal with issues that result from students posting negative information online.  Most recently we had the police involved in a matter that was very damaging for many Stiern students.  If children do not have access to social media, we find they lead more productive and happier lives.  Please read on about ways you can support your student in using social media responsibly.  Thank you for your support.

Statistics report that almost 90% of teenagers have used some form of social media (Facebook, You Tube, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.) and nearly 75% have a profile of their own on social media.  Teens visit these sites daily and the likelihood of this trend slowing is minimal.

The Good

Social media is great when

  • teens use it to stay connected to family and friends in a positive way
  • volunteer to get involved with a charity or nonprofit organization
  • enhance their creativity by sharing ideas, music, and art
  • interact with others who share similar positive interests

The Bad and the Ugly

Social Media is negative when

  • teens engage in cyberbullying (Threats and intimidation of others while online)
  • share questionable activities such as posting risky pictures or posting videos of negative or illegal acts
  • Including personal information that allows predators to find them and potentially hurt them

The dangers of engaging in this risky behavior go beyond the moment it is posted.  It is almost impossible to completely erase videos, photos, and snaps from the internet.  If someone wants to find information, they can find it even when teens and their parents have deleted it.  Problems will arise years later from poor behaviors online.  Students will have issues with potential job applications and college applications if their history includes negative online behavior.

Social Media also creates an unhealthy climate of competition to be as popular or as well liked or “friended” by as many friends as their peers.  This causes low self-esteem in many students. They feel less important and worse about themselves when they make these unhealthy comparisons.

 What can Parents Do?

  • Be aware of what your student is doing online. Stay involved in a way that makes your student feel you respect their privacy but that you also want to make sure they are being safe.
  • Create a Social Media Agreement with your teen. Do this so they know if they violate any of the safe behaviors you have identified for them in order to have the privilege of using the social media, they will lose their phone or tablet/computer and online access.
  • When all else fails, take their smart phones or computers away and delete their online accounts.

What Can Teens do?

  • Be nice. Engaging in mean behavior will always come back on you and you will be the victim in the end.  Being mean results in others being mean back.
  • Think twice before hitting the “send” or “enter” button. Be aware posting parties and dates, phone numbers, etc. leave you vulnerable for predators.
  • Once you say something or put it out there, you can’t get it back. Do not post anything that you would not want your grandmother, mother, father, aunt, uncle or other family member to see.
  • Use privacy settings and do not share your password with anyone.
  • Do not “friend” strangers even if they are friends of friends.

Statistics and information supplied by

http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/social-media-smarts.html#

For more information Google “teens and social media” online.  Thank you.

Teal Divider

All students will discover that school can be challenging from time to time whether it be academically or socially.  The Middle School years is a time of growth, adjustment, and sometimes rebellion.  Preteens and teenagers are very capable of hiding their problems and not allowing their parents or teachers to know what is troubling them until the problem gets out of hand.  Please look for the following warning signs so that you can help your student continue to be successful at school and at home:

  • Watch for a change in grades.  If you notice lower grades in subjects your student normally does well in, this may be a sign for concern.
  • Watch for a change in behavior such as a decrease in willingness to talk about friends of school.
  • Diminishing confidence in his/her ability to do things he/she normally did without doubts.
  • A change in habits and/ or attitude where he/she spends more time isolated, alone, in front of the television, away from others, or shows a negative attitude.
  • An increase in school communication such as phone calls and notes from the school counselors or teachers.

All of these are warning signs that there may be a problem.  Make sure you follow the ABC’s of Student Success.

  • Ask for Help: Talk to your students teachers or school counselor.
  • Be Involved: Get involved in school activities.  Studies show that students do better when their parent/guardian is connected with school.

Attend Parent/Teacher Conferences and Parent Classes offered at the school

Join the Booster Club

Help out in our school’s library or in the classrooms.

Attend concerts and sporting events.

  • Communicate: Make the time to talk to your student each day.  They value your input and need you to be interested in what they are doing at school.  They may resist at first but don’t give up.  Every one of our students is an amazing individual and we value them.

PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCES

This Year Parent/ Teacher Conferences will be held the week of October 26 through the 30th.  Each day is a minimum Day for students.  During Conference Week students will be dismissed at 12:55PM.  All after-school Extended Learning Time and sports activities are cancelled for the week.  The After School Education and Safety Program (Boys and Girls Club – ASES) will end at 4:00 during Parent Conference Week.  Parent Conferences will be held from 1:15PM-3:00PM and Spanish translation will be provided upon request.

  • Parent Conferences will be held in the Multi-purpose room.

If you have not received a phone call from the school and a scheduled conference time, you may attend any day of the week between the hours of 1:15PM and 3:00PM.   Because of time constraints, you may not be able to conference with all of your student’s teachers.  Each teacher will have a conference sign-up sheet for you to put your name and contact information on should you wish to schedule a conference at a later date and time.  We are looking forward to meeting with you and discussing how we can partner together to help your student have a more successful learning experience here at Walter Stiern. 

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Dear Parents:

Welcome Back!

Welcome to another year of superior learning at Walter Stiern Middle School!  We are continuing with our Professional Learning Community work here at Stiern.  The focus of the work puts continues to put student learning as the top priority.  In order to have our students learning at the highest levels, we spend several hours a week collaborating with one another, staff and teachers, in order to maximize the learning outcomes for your student(s).  This year, our District has designated a once a week Bank Day to support this type of collaboration.  Every Wednesday, you student will get out of school 30 minutes earlier than the other four days of the week.  To clarify: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays our dismissal time is 2:13PM.  Wednesday’s students are dismissed at 1:41PM.  My team and I thank you for your support and assistance in helping your student learn at high levels.

Read the Parent/Student Guide

Please take the time to CAREFULLY review our District’s Parent/Student guide with your child.  There are many importance pieces of information that will assist you in helping your child have a successful school year.  I want to draw your attention to the section on Student/Parent/and School Responsibilities.  We must all work together equally, in order for our students to have success and grow this school year.  It cannot be stressed enough how vital your positive support is in the academic and social development of your student(s).

3 Hour After-School Program- Monday through Friday every week!

I am happy to announce our school has a three hour daily after school program.  This program runs Monday through Friday.  Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday is runs from 2:15-5:15PM and Wednesdays, due to the Bank Day, is runs 1:45-4:45PM.  We have a total of 110 openings for students.  There is an enrollment process and parents are responsible for the transportation of their student after the program lets out.  Right now we have over 50 openings left.  The program offers athletics activities which focus on sportsmanship, academic support in the form of homework help and tutoring as well as other fun activities students enjoy.  A nutritional snack is provided daily and the program is at no cost to you.  Attendance is crucial to continue in the program.  For more information about the program or how to apply, contact Valerie Ruiz, Stiern’s after school coordinator at 437-8440.  Thank you.

 

Stiern’s annual Back-To-School Night is Thursday September 17th beginning at 5:30PM in the Stiern Gymnasium.  We look forward to seeing you and continuing to work with you in creating an environment your child will be excited about being a part of each and every day.

 Stiern Mission Statement: Stiern Middle School’s Mission is to nurture student’s individual talents and graduate students who are well prepared with superior academic and social skills in order to be successful in high school and beyond.

 

 

 

Attendance Line: (661) 631-5480



Nondiscrimination Policy

Bakersfield City School District programs, activities, and practices shall be free from unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on actual or perceived characteristics of race or ethnicity, color, ancestry, nationality, national origin, ethnic group identifications, age, religion, marital or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic information or any other characteristic identified in Education Code 200 or 220, Penal code 422.55, or Government Code 11135, or based on association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, you should immediately contact the school site principal and/or the District’s Human Resource Administrator, at 661-631-4663, or at 1300 Baker Street, Bakersfield, California 93305. A copy of BCSD’s Uniform Complaint Procedures and Non-Discrimination policies are available by clicking here and/or upon request.