Category: General Team Info

Will YOU Collect Boxtops for Education for Us?

Dear Parents,

Just wanted to send out a request: Can you keep your eyes open for "Boxtops for Education," the small icons that appear on the packaging for a WHOLE TON of popular products that you are probably already buying?

If you see them, can you tear them off or cut them out and send them in to me?

Our Student Council collects them and turns them in, and they make a HECK of a lot of money doing it. I didn’t realize it, but each boxtop is worth 10 cents.

If we get our whole team collecting them and sending them in, those dimes add up to TON of cash that our Student Council can use.

And this year, that money is going to provide mini-grants for teachers doing interesting projects in their classrooms that our STUCO representatives want to support.

Thanks a ton,

Bill Ferriter

A Note on the End of the Quarter

Dear Parents,

I wanted to update you on a change in county policy that will make the end of our quarters look a little different to you than usual: The grading period for all year round middle schools ends on the last day of the quarter. In previous years, the grading period always ended a week before the end of the quarter.

The reason that change matters to you is because we also track out on the last day of the quarter. That means your child’s report cards won’t be available until the last day of the first week of the SECOND quarter. In this case, that date is October 27th.

While that may seem strange, remember that you can always see your child’s current averages in PowerSchools. You can look those scores up anytime.

One last note: Our team typically likes to do an honors assembly to recognize students who have had an outstanding quarter. That assembly will also be held on October 27th. We will share more details with you as we nail down a time and a place for the assembly.

I hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter

Want to Help Chaperone Our Field Trip?

Dear Parents,

As you saw yesterday, we are beginning to plan our first field trip of the year — to the Jordan Lake Educational State Forest on November 16th for some interesting forestry lessons. It should be a great time!

To pull the trip off, we will need about 10 parent chaperones. If you are interested in joining us, please fill out this form.

Mr. Ferriter will send out an email with more detials before track out to all parents who sign up.

Thanks in advance for helping us to pull this off.

Bill Ferriter

Your Students Have Access to Powerschool – the Online Gradebook.

Dear Parents,

Just a quick heads up: Today, we are going to the library to get students all set up and signed in to Powerschool — the online gradebook that students can access to see their averages and their grades for individual assignments in all classes.

That’s a SUPER important service in middle school.

Students are expected to check their grades on a regular basis to look for assignments that are missing and/or assignments that can be reworked for a higher grade. We don’t send grade reports home frequently during the course of a quarter simply because students can access this information on their own whenever they want.

Students can access Powerschool by clicking on the icon in the "Apps for Students" section of the Salem Middle School homepage. They can also access Powerschool from an app on their personal devices. Directions for finding and logging into the app can be found on this Essential Apps page of our media center website.

As a parent, you can get your own username and password for Powerschool.

The process is somewhat detailed simply because Powerschool shares tons of personal information about your child. WCPSS wants to make sure that the only person that can access that information are legal guardians of our students. But it is well worth doing because you will use that access to track your child’s grades for as long as he/she is in a Wake County Public School.

You can find directions for getting your own Powerschool account here on Wake County’s website.

Know, however, that until you have your own access, you can ask your student to login to THEIR account to see their grades.

The information students have access to is the same as the information that you have access to. If you don’t have internet access at home, you can ask your child to sign in here at school and print out a score report for you to see.

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter

Do You Like to Volunteer on Campus?

Dear Parents,

Just a quick reminder that if you are the kind of parent that likes to volunteer — as a chaperone on a field trip or a parent volunteer for on campus team activities — you MUST fill out the Wake County Public School volunteer screening application.

That has to be filled out on campus. We have a computer station set up in the media center.

Please consider filling that application out sooner rather than later. It can take weeks for the screening to be completed — so if you wait until just before a field trip, you are likely to not be able to help us.

Our first volunteer opportunity will be chaperoning a field trip in November! We’ll be sending more details out about that in just a few weeks.

Hope you’ll be able to join us.

Bill Ferriter

Would You Sponsor a Science World Magazine Subscription?

Dear Parents,

During the upcoming school year, the sixth grade science teachers are going to be working to incorporate nonfiction reading lessons into our classrooms. To make these lessons engaging, we want to focus on science themed current events, which sixth grade students REALLY enjoy.

To pull this off, we need your help: We’d like to order 30 subscriptions to Science World magazine , a highly rated monthly science reader written specifically for middle school students. Each subscription costs $9.50 for 10 monthly issues which we will use for regular lessons on how to read nonfiction text and which will be available for students to read during our twice-weekly silent reading sessions in my room.

Our science department’s budget isn’t large enough to cover this cost, so we’re hoping that we can find parents who are willing to make a donation to help us to pay for these magazines.

If we receive more than 30 subscriptions, we will ALSO be purchasing subscriptions of a nonfiction classroom magazine for math and language arts classes, too. Again, our goal is to give kids access to high-interest, nonfiction content in as many of their core classes as possible.

If you are willing to make a donation, please return this form along with cash or a check made out to Salem Middle School by Friday, September 1st.

Be well,

Bill Ferriter

Has Your Child Turned in their Liability Form for Monday’s Eclipse Viewing?

Dear Parents,

As a reminder, we are planning a super fun solar eclipse viewing party for Monday here at school — complete with NASA approved solar eclipse glasses, Capri Suns and Moonpies!

But your child CAN’T participate unless they’ve turned in the second WCPSS Waiver of Liabilty form that was sent home this week.

You can find out if your child’s form is missing by clicking on this link.

If you need another copy of the form, you can get it here. You can also have it witnessed by a neighbor, friend, aunt, uncle, cousin — or by the receptionist here at Salem Middle School.

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter

Looking for a Chromebook? Here’s a Deal on Refurbished Samsungs.

Dear Parents,

As you know, the preferred BYOD device at Salem Middle School are Chromebooks. That’s because all WCPSS students are given a Google Apps for Education account to use throughout the year. Your kids will be working in their Google Drives and Google Classrooms all year long.

If you are looking for a cheap Chromebook, there’s a deal on refurbished Samsungs on Tanga right now:

Samsung “Grade B” Refurbished Chromebooks – $88.99

Samsung “Grade C” Refurbished Chromebooks – $69.99

As you probably already know, refurbished machines are NOT new devices — but they have been fully tested to be sure that they function as new devices.  They may show some wear and tear on the body of the devices.  Essentially, they are used Chromebooks that have been reset to factory settings and tested to ensure that they are working properly.

While I can’t make any promises about the quality/reliability of the devices Tanga is selling, I have purchased close to 20 refurbished Samsung Chromebooks over the last few years and all are still working.  They may not be the prettiest device in the world, but they are used all day long by kids without trouble.  In fact, there’s a good chance your child has already used one of my Samsung Chromebooks this year.

Figured I’d pass this information along just in case you were still looking at devices for your child.

Hope this helps.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Bill Ferriter

 

Please Remember to Sign Up for Classroom Summaries!

Dear Parents,

First, it was GREAT meeting so many of you last night! Thanks for coming out to Open House. I hope it was worth your time — and I hope that you know that the teachers of the Gnomes team are going to work their hardest for you and for your children this year. We really DO care deeply about what we do — and we know how important this year is for both you and your children.

Second, a reminder: The BEST way to keep up with happenings in each of your child’s classrooms is to sign up to receive Google Classroom Guardian Summaries.

All four of your child’s core teachers are using Google Classroom to share materials and announcements with students. By signing up for Google’s Guardian Summaries, you will get a daily or weekly email that includes a sorted list of every assignment given and every announcment made in each of those classes.

While it’s important that your children develop a measure of independence in middle school, Guardian Summaries are a great way to check back over their shoulder and be sure that they aren’t missing anything important.

If you are interested in receiving Classroom summaries, please fill out this form.

I will then add your email address to your child’s Google Classroom account as a guardian. Finally, Google will send you an email asking you to confirm that you want to receive summaries and asking you if you want to receive those summaries daily or weekly.

Let me know if you have any questions,

Bill Ferriter

PS: If you’ve already signed up for Summaries, I’ve already added your email address to your child’s account — so check those inboxes/SPAM folders for Google’s invitation!

Do You Want to Volunteer This Year?

Dear Parents,

Just a quick reminder that if you want to volunteer on our campus this year, you will need to stop by the Salem Middle School Media Center at some point and fill out the "Volunteer Screening Application" in order to be added to Wake County’s approved list of volunteers.

All volunteers must submit an application every year — so even if you were on the approved list last year, you’ll need to take that step again this year!

We will have several volunteer opportunities this year — including chaperoning our two field trips.

Think about filling out that screening form sooner rather than later. It can take up to a month to process applications and appear on the approved list.

Let me know if you have any questions,

Bill Ferriter