Week of 2/11-2/15/19

Hello Panthers!
Welcome to the rollercoaster of crazy ups and downs in temperature. It certainly is doing a number on students and adults with flu, sinus infections, and colds. All I can say is Vitamin C and soap and water. We added a handwashing sink in the lower commons in the Fall. The sole purpose of doing so was to encourage students to wash their hands before eating. A reminder from parents certainly won’t hurt. This week will be interesting with Valentine’s Day. For middle school, that translates to increased drama and sugar. Several things happening this week, see below.

High School Transition Information - Last Chance - Monday, Feb. 11th - 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
It was great to see so many parents and students at Cedar Ridge on Thursday night. For those of you that still have questions, we will hosting a question and answer session Monday night in the Ridgeview Lecture Hall. Representatives from Cedar Ridge will be in attendance to answer questions as well. Hope to see you there!

STAAR Ready - Weds, Feb 13th.
Students will be taking a released STAAR test on Wednesday. 6th and 8th grade will take the reading test and 7th grade will take the writing test. The campus will practice some of the same procedures for visitors and deliveries as we would during STAAR. Lunches are expected to be at the normal times. Students will report to periods 6-8 after testing as normal.

NAEP - Thursday, Feb 14th
Some 8th grade students were chosen to participate in the NAEP testing on Thursday. This was not my idea for a valentine present. However, it is somewhat of an honor to be selected as Ridgeview is viewed as being demographically similar to the U.S. Student scores will be compared to those of students around the country to get a better picture of the state of education in the United States. For more information, here is a helpful website. It is often viewed as the Nation’s Report Card.

Enrichment Day - Friday, Feb. 15th
Ridgeview will be hosting an enrichment day for students on Friday. Students should be signing up for two enrichment sessions as well as the reward rally. Students have until the end of the day on Tuesday to make selections. 7th grade students and select 8th grade students in BIM courses will participate in Mad City Money that morning.

Musical Performing One More Time - Feb 16th!
This weeked the Theater Department presented the musical Xanadu. If didn’t can’t catch them this weekend, you have one more chance on 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! Can’t wait to see you there and I promise it will be a great show!

8th Grade Formal - Saturday, March 2nd - 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
The 8th grade formal is coming a little early this year due to conflicts on the calendar for later in the year. Information has been presented to 8th grade students. We want to remind students and parents that this is not the prom. Students are encouraged to dress up, but there is no obligation for a date, limousines, or any other extravagance above and beyond what you would expect for middle school. Most of all, we want as many 8th graders as possible to attend and have a great time!

Career Day - March 8th
Career Day is around a month away, but the planning starts 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.

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.

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.

Social Media Tip
I don’t have an author for this article, but it came from smartsocial.com and I thought it was really good coming from one parent to another talking about rules for screen time. I think the title is “Your phone is not your property.”

Our 6 basic rules for screen time are:
  1. No phones at the dinner table. AT ALL. No exceptions — that includes parents.
  2. No phones during homework time. Students need to concentrate on the work at hand. School is always first.
  3. No game time during the school week and only on weekends after your chores are completed. There is entirely too much going on during week nights between school work, after-school activities, sports, and family obligations that there is NO way we can possibly add computer games appropriately into this time frame. In our home, game time is an earned commodity. They are played only after the completion of your responsibilities.
  4. There is an alarm set on everyone’s phone that rings at 7:30 p.m. during the school week. The 7:30 alarm means electronic hours are over and your phone must be turned into the phone/tablet basket immediately. No excuses, no exceptions. I firmly believe children need time away from electronics before bed to help turn their smarticles “off” for the night. My husband and I keep the chargers in our room and have a plug-in station for everyone’s stuff. Seriously. Go read a book, kids.
  5. No phones in the morning until you have fully and completely prepared yourself for your school day. If they miss the bus because they were preoccupied on their phone and not paying attention to the time, they better start walking and they better be fast. Being tardy to school will not be accepted. (And in case you are curious, yes, my children have had to walk to school. And it was cold and raining. They have not had to walk since. I think they learned their lesson fairly quickly with this one.)
  6. Your phone is not your property. It does not belong to you. It belongs to us, your parents. We paid for the phone and we pay the monthly bill. You must ask permission before downloading any games or apps and I must have every password of yours written down so that I am able to access anything I choose on your phone. And if I choose to add a GPS Tracker app, a Mobile Monitoring app or a handful of apps I read about in a magazine designed for paranoid parents that make me feel more at ease, so be it.
We take these precautions because we love our kids and we want to protect them

Clearly “privacy” is something that is nonexistent when it comes to electronics in our home. We check our children’s phones nightly. We read their texts and scroll through their apps. We don’t do this to be overbearing or nosy. We don’t do it to be mean or strict. We do it because we love them and it is the only way we feel we can protect them. Does it annoy our children? Absolutely, yes. We don’t care, though.

Here’s the thing: that small, thin rectangle in their hands wields entirely too much power. There are so many unknowns out there in the world wide web. Too many predators to fear and way too much for any parent to fully comprehend or keep tabs on. I mean, I can’t even turn on the news anymore without hearing a horror story regarding a child, the internet and some sicko. Or a child hurting themselves due to online bullying that could have been prevented and dealt with if only the parents, school, or authorities knew.

We may believe our children are “smart enough” or “mature enough” to make the right choices when faced with scary, unimaginable scenarios, but do we really know 100%? And is it worth the risk? I think not.

I’m totally cool with being the “Mean Mom” this time. And maybe, just maybe, someday far, far away, they just might thank me.

I had a little chat with my own 7th grader this weekend about appreciation. You might be familiar with lack of appreciation for all the things that you do for your student, like love them, take care of them, and provide them with food, clothing, and shelter. Not to mention everything else, that in reality, is above and beyond the requirements of basic parenting, like paying for camps, or a cellphone, or a new pair of shoes. Sometimes I get so irritated with the (perceived) lack of appreciation that he shows me. In retrospect, I think it is easy to get down on yourself at times and have the feeling that you are unappreciated from others. This might happen in a relationship, at home with family, in the workplace, or even amongst friends. I think it is perfectly acceptable to let others know when you are feeling this way. I also think it is important to let others know what they do to make you feel appreciated.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at the University of Texas about the implementation of Restorative Practices in schools. This was the second year that I have been asked to participate with other leaders across the state and it was a great experience. I feel appreciated to be recognized for my expertise as a leader in the state. Sometimes it is a little defeating though, because I do not feel that we have progressed as a school in a timely fashion. However, when hearing the testimony of others, we are far ahead of many districts that employ full-time coordinators in their schools. That is a source of pride, not only for myself, but for the staff and students of Ridgeview.

If you would like to learn more about Restorative Practices, please join us for the next Principal Coffee on Thursday, Feb. 28th from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. to learn more and ask questions.

At the end of the day, a thank you goes a long way. I am guilty of not doing this very often. Even though I have been consistent in writing in my gratitude journal, I fall short with thanking the people that I journal about regularly. So, take some time this week to reflect on how you feel about not only being appreciated, but who you appreciate. If you need to have a critical conversation with people, make sure you are prepared and don’t let it become a poor me story. At the same time, carve out time to let others know how much you appreciate them. Sometimes, your day becomes special when you make someone else’s day brighter!

Make it a brighter day Ridgeview! The choice is yours!

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