Week of 1/28 - 2/1/19

Hello Panthers!
Sunday was perfect weather to be outside! I hope you took advantage of the rare summer weather in January, especially since it was almost freezing a couple of days earlier. I know that everyone is thinking about their favorite appetizer for the upcoming weekend, but before we get there I just want to thank everyone for sending me their students each day! I know it gets tiring and I think we could all use mental wellness days now and then without penalty. Unfortunately we are not there yet, so I appreciate you sending them each day! Make sure you click on the “Upcoming Events” tab to stay on top of all the events that are happening over the next month.

Family Survey
Thank you to those of you that have filled out the latest climate survey from the district. We are only about 200 behind the school in front of us for parent responses. We would love to have your input to help us improve! Our Ridgeview Annual Family Survey is mobile-friendly and short, it should take about 5 minutes to complete. Your input is valuable and used to plan for improvement and implement new opportunities for your student.

International Day - January 29th
We will be celebrating International Day on Tues. the 29th. We will spend a few hours in the morning learning about other cultures. This includes hearing from author Vuthy Kuon, cultural music and dance, and researching interesting facts about other countries. One of the features is an International Cultural Museum that will be set up in the Lecture Hall. We are seeking more items! If you have authentic items from another country that you are comfortable lending us for the week, we would love to display it! This can include traditional clothing, pictures, coins, or artifacts. Our goal is to show the global presence that is represented at Ridgeview. Please bring items to the front office to ensure that we properly label them and they are returned to you when we take down the displays.

Transition Meeting Dates - Tuesday 1/29 - 6:00 - 8:00 pm
We had two great days visiting with Forest Creek and Blackland Prairie. For Incoming 6th graders, remember that we have “Incoming Parent Night and Fine Arts Night” on Tuesday, January 29th starting at 6:00 pm. Parent Night for Cedar Ridge Incoming Freshman is Thursday, February 7th from 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Please see the tabs marked “Incoming 6th Grade Info” and “Transition to HS Info” We will update as frequently as possible to make sure all dates, times, and locations are correct. Please email your grade level counselor or Assistant Principal if you have further questions.

Upcoming All School Dance - Feb 1
The all school dance is quickly approaching on February 1. Be on the lookout for online ticket sales as well as dates for lunch sales to students. The cost for student wristbands will be 5 dollars and if your student is a PTA member the cost is only 4 dollars. Concessions will be sold at the dance. All items will be one dollar. Pizza, Popcorn, Chips, Candy and Drinks will be available.

Gifted and Advanced Academic Parent/Student Conference
This conference is for both parents of students who are receiving gifted services, as well as high potential learners who are seeking advanced academic opportunities. The conference will be held at Walsh Middle School on February 2nd from 9 a.m. to noon. Registration

Career Day - March 8th
It might seem like it is in the distant future, but when you put on a Career Day like Ridgeview, we start planning early. Each year we have over 60 guest speakers join us. We would love to have you join us and talk to our students about your career! The event will take place Friday, March 8th, from 8:30 - 10:30 that morning. There will be four (25) minute sessions. Mark your calendar. Here is the form if you would like to participate.

Upcoming Musical Tickets on Sale Now! - Feb 8th, 9th, and 16th!
The Theater Department will be presenting the musical Xanadu. There will be two weekends of shows - the 8th and 9th at Ridgeview and the 16th at the Cedar Ridge Performing Arts Auditorium. Tickets are available for purchase at the link below. This will guarantee you a seat and we almost always have a sellout crowd!
https://www.greateventseats.com/eventseating.php?lID=215&eventID=4464

Worth the Wait Info
Round Rock ISD is hosting informational forums designed to familiarize parents/guardians with the District’s sex education curriculum, Living WELL Aware Adolescent Wellness and Sexual Health® developed and presented by Scott and White. There is no fee to attend.

The Living WELL Aware, Worth the Wait curriculum will be presented to all middle school students in the Spring after the conclusion of the scheduled parent forums. Boys and girls in the sixth-grade will receive separate instruction.

SCHEDULE & LOCATIONS OF PARENT FORUMS
  • Thursday, Jan 31, 2019, 6 p.m.
    • Deerpark Middle School Library, 8849 Anderson Mill Rd, Austin, TX 78729
  • Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, 6 p.m.
    • Hernandez Middle School Library, 1901 Sunrise Rd, Round Rock, TX 78664
  • Monday, Feb 11, 2019, 6 p.m.
    • Old Hopewell, adjacent to Round Rock ISD Administration, 1311 Round Rock Ave, Round Rock 78681
  • Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, 6 p.m.
    • Ridgeview Middle School Library, 2000 Via Sonoma Trail, Round Rock, TX 78665
  • Wednesday, Mar. 6, 2019, 6 p.m.
    • Canyon Vista Middle School Library, 8455 Spicewood Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78759
Review the Scott and White presentation.

Laptop Program
Ridgeview is now accepting applications for the laptops at home program. Applications need to be submitted by Feb 14th.
Here is the link to the application:

Boys and Demotivation
If you have been following me for awhile, you are probably aware that I have two boys, 7th and 9th graders. Yes, I accept your sympathy and empathy. I feel that I am kind of a no-nonsense parent, but also very supportive of them and what they want to do. Being from a rural community, I was raised with a strong work ethic, you know, the work so you can eat attitude. That has not seemed to have rubbed off on my two. I am not going so far as to say that they are lazy, but less than enthusiastic about certain tasks, perhaps even demotivated. It is times like this that I pull out my go-to resource from Tim Elmore, Generation iY to figure out what is going on with them.

Chapter 5 is devoted to this topic. Elmore talks about how boys in particular dislike school and gives some statistics to support the drop in college enrollment to 41% in the last decade. I could make the argument that more girls are going to college and that accounts for the percentage drop. Let’s move on though. Here are a few findings about the males that did go to college:
  • Lack the desire to assume responsibility
  • Disengaged from student activities or leadership on campus
  • Return home after they are finished with college (say it isn’t so!)
  • Resort to anti-social behavior
  • Lack direction and tend to postpone plans for the future
I have to wonder if Tim isn’t instead describing a middle school student because I don’t see much difference other than they don’t want to be at home. He goes on to list six reasons as to why they might not be motivated in school.

  1. Video games and other online activity (he said it, not me, but I agree!) The average teenage boys spends 13 hours a week gaming. They are being overloaded with visual stimuli which can lead to a loss of sleep at night and trouble concentrating during the day. There are also concerns for vision and health risks associated with being in a sedentary position for so long.
  2. Inappropriate teaching methods. Most boys need to expend extra energy during the day. They need to see it, not only hear it. They also need to learn through experience, not just explanation.
  3. Prescription drugs. The U.S. makes up 5% of the world population, but consumes 90% of the world’s ADHD medication. Sometimes a change in environment, routine, and structure work just as well to reel in focus. Elmore goes as far to say that an over-reliance on medication is lazy parenting. A recent study showed only one in seven actually needed or would benefit from medication.
  4. Endocrine disruptors. This one is a little controversial, so I will put what Elmore is saying. Products in the environment can affect biological systems, leading to hormone imbalance. In particular, bisphenol A (BPA), found in many plastics. This is thought to mimic estrogen in males, leading to slower sexual development and lower testosterone levels. Do some research on your own about this one.
  5. Damaging parenting styles. Kids need to learn independence starting in middle school and increasing in high school. Hovering parents that want to protect their kid, might actually be causing long-term harm. In reality, preparing them for life without us should be a priority.
  6. Devaluation of masculinity. Elmore quotes Gordon Daulby saying that males intrinsically want to excel in four roles:
    • Son - Am I acceptable to my father?
    • Worker - Am I competent to provide?
    • Lover - Can I win the affection of another?
    • Warrior - Can I fight and win a cause I believe in?
Interesting viewpoint. He also talks about the lack of winners and participation trophies for all.

Quite a bit to digest when looking at all six reasons. Elmore also suggests five action steps to get males teens out of this demotivated stage.
  1. Begin early exposing them to male role models in the community. This is one of the main functions of the WatchDogs program.
  2. Limit and monitor screen time. Have a discussion or contract about screen time. Remove screens from bedrooms (TV, Computers, Cell phones).
  3. Provide appropriate hands-on learning activities. Expose them to opportunities to use their skills in the real world. Do hands-on projects. Prepare for the real world.
  4. Educate yourself on the effects of prescription drugs. Check environmental factors before medicating.
  5. Be careful about male bashing. Talk about examples of heroes that are both men and women and the characteristics that make these heroes special.
All this to say that there is a lot to consider when raising a boy and it is not an easy job. I am not saying that it is harder than raising girls because I think that might even be harder, but boys and girls are different and especially during puberty. One size does not fit all. Maybe you picked up a few tips or insight from reading this blog. Maybe you still have question marks. Just one author’s opinion that I have exposed you to, I am sure there are others that might have contradicting opinions as do most things in life these days. If you want my opinion from working with teens for over fifteen years, here is it. Teens need to know that they are loved, need structure in routines, need exposure to other adults and kids outside of school, need exposure to nature, need a gradual release of independence that is closely monitored.

Make it a great week Ridgeview! The choice is yours!

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