Admin

Welcome Guide

Welcome to West Jeff Middle School! Here are some hints and tips for making the transition easier.

Table of Contents:

  1. First Day
  2. Arriving and Leaving
  3. Computers and Digital Tools
  4. GT Center and Honors Courses
  5. Illness and Attendance
  6. Infinite Campus
  7. Jeffco Connect
  8. Lunch
  9. Math Placement
  10. Outdoor Lab
  11. Personal Care Needs
  12. Standardized Testing
  13. Student Support
  14. Textbooks and Test Preparation
  15. Transportation and After-School Activities
  16. Volunteering and PTA
  17. Talking to Teachers

First Day

Our first day of school is just for sixth graders - students will meet the staff and be welcomed at a brief assembly before breaking into small groups for activities with their WEB group leaders. They will go to a lunch and recess with additional staff to guide them through the routines for lunch, tour the school with their WEB group and walk through their schedules to find classrooms, and locate and practice opening their lockers.

Please keep your school supplies at home on the first day! There will be time on their second day - which is the first day for our seventh and eighth graders - to bring in supplies.

Parents are welcome to come into the West Jeff Library after dropping off their students on the first day for a Boo-Hoo/Yahoo breakfast and opportunity to network with other parents.

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Arriving and Leaving

All students enter through the front doors, which open at 7:20 am. Students and visitors arriving after 7:30 must use the building entry buzzer at the far right of the front doors and be buzzed in.

If you need to pick up your student during the school day, please plan to arrive at the school allowing for the time necessary to call your student to the office and for you to sign them out. Students must be checked out by a parent/guardian unless previous arrangements have been made. It is helpful but not necessary for you to advise them ahead of time if you know they will have to leave during the school day.

Students may arrive or leave on foot, by car, or by bus. Bicycles and skateboards must be walked once on campus; there is a rack by the front doors to secure bicycles and skateboards may be stored in lockers. The vehicle drop-off lanes are different in the morning and afternoon. There will be volunteers on the first day of school to help you navigate and distribute printed copies of our AM Drop-Off and PM Pick-Up diagrams.

The school day ends at 2:20 pm. The expectation is that students not staying after school to work with a teacher or attend a scheduled after-school activity exit the building by 3 PM.

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Computers and Digital Tools

Computers are available to students in a number of ways:

  • Computer labs: We have four computer labs that teachers may book during class time. Printing is supported from all of the labs, which means all of the workstations in Lab 114, Lab 206, and LMC Lab, and three printing stations in Lab 306, which has Chromebooks.

  • Chromebook carts: We have six Chromebook carts that teaches may book for use during class. Individual devices are not available to be taken from the carts while they are in the library unless the cart is booked to a class that is in the library at that time.

  • Grade-level laptop carts: Each grade level is issued a cart of 15 Windows laptops that the teachers at that grade level use among themselves, whether keeping the cart together and working out booking arrangements among the teachers or parting out the cart to put 2-3 laptops in each classroom. There is also a set of 15 laptops made available for the use of yearbook, creative writing, composition, and broadcast technology classes that stay in that classroom.

  • Bring Your Own Device: After both individual students and their families have signed off the agreements for Bring Your Own Device in Jeffco Connect, students may bring personally-owned devices in to use during the day. The staff can provide assistance in helping students connect their device to the Jeffco-Instructional network but otherwise cannot provide technical support for personally-owned devices.

The primary digital platforms used at our school are Schoology and Google Classroom for learning and assignments. Additional digital tools used in a systemic manner in our building are listed and described on our Data Practices and Student Privacy page.

Starting in the 2017-2018 school year, every 6th grader will take a Computer Applications class where they will learn the platforms and technology skills needed to be successful in middle school and beyond.

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GT Center and Honors Courses

GT Center placement is determined by district GT personnel. Students in Honors classes must be either in the GT Center or be on an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP). GT Center students are typically scheduled in all Honors classes; however, other ALP students may or may not be in Honors classes depending on their area of strength, grades, scores, and class availability. Honors classes should have higher expectations and possibly move more quickly through the curriculum allowing students to get deeper into the concepts.

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Illness and Attendance

If your child becomes ill during the school day, they may ask their teacher for a pass to the clinic. You will receive a call from the school (303-982-3056) if your child needs to be picked up. If your child calls, texts, or otherwise contacts you during the day to inform you that they are ill and want to be picked up, please direct them to go to the school clinic.

To report a student's absence or late arrival, please contact the attendance line prior to the start of school at 303-982-3051. A recorded message will ask for the student's name, the date and time to be missed, and the reason for the absence.

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Infinite Campus

Infinite Campus is a service used by Jefferson County Public Schools to manage student data. Students and families have separate logins to access their student's grades, school class schedules and attendance information. It can be accessed through the district Family Portal, which is a drop-down item from the Family Resources tab on our website.

Teachers are expected to update their grades weekly. It is expected that they have grades in by Monday evening. Parents and students should check grades weekly. We try to send out a D and F dialer every two to three weeks. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your child's teachers through email or voicemail. It is expected that teachers respond to questions within 24 hours, with an exception for weekends and vacations.

If an assignment does not have comments and the student feels that they need feedback, encourage them to talk to the teacher. If more extensive communication is needed, all teachers' contact information is available on our website.

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Jeffco Connect

Jeffco Connect is our district's online registration system. It lets family members fill out their student's contact and demographic information from any computer with an internet connection. Families can also access Campus family portal, Jeffco student fee payment, and the meal payment system from Jeffco Connect.

At the start of each school year, we ask families to check their settings for School Messenger and emergency contact information in Jeffco Connect. You must opt in if you want to receive emergency and routine phone messages, text notifications, and/or e-mails from the school. Parents must also read the Jeffco Code of Conduct and Bring Your Own Device policy and electronically sign those agreement items in Jeffco Connect.

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Lunch and Recess

Lunch

Students may bring their own lunch from home, purchase a full lunch, or purchase from the school's a la carte line. A full lunch costs $3.35. Students must have a positive balance in their school lunch account in order to purchase lunch; funds may be deposited into their account at any time. Parents may add funds to their student's lunch account using MyPaymentsPlus or at the school with the financial secretary. Eligible families are welcome to apply for free or reduced-price lunch online; if a student received free or reduced-price lunches last year, their status carries over until the end of September.

Menus and other information are available on the Jeffco Public Schools Food &Nutrition Services website.

Recess

All grades have recess time during the second half of their lunch period. The lunchtime recess period is approximately 15 minutes and it takes some adjustment for students to
successfully use that time. Here are some tips to get the most out of recess:

  • Stay within the boundaries: the lower field, the stairs, the pad and sidewalk areas outside the recess doors from by the gate and dumpsters to the corner, then in front of the pump house and on the monkey bars and wall ball areas.

  • Please stay off the hillside (it is steep and rocky), including the concreted stones below the corner of the gym, and refrain from going around the corner of the gym, behind the outbuildings, or sliding on the stair railing.

  • Students are welcome to bring their own sports equipment for recess. If students wish to bring lacrosse sticks, they must use a tennis ball with them as a safety precaution. Please note that students may not play full-contact or tackle games at recess.

  • Dress for the weather! We go outside as long as it is above 20 degrees and it is not raining or snowing. It's all right to bring a coat and/or boots to lunch.

Recess information, including an annotated image of the recess area, is included in the Middle School Recess document. It was communicated in a Weekly Wednesday Update at the start of the school year.

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Math Placement

An invitation to test for accelerated math is based on a body of evidence that includes 4th and 5th grade CMAS scores (proficient or higher), Winter and Spring MAP scores (80th percentile or higher), and teacher recommendation, which must also have data to support accelerated math.

The placement test includes 5th and 6th grade concepts. If students demonstrate high mastery of 5th grade concepts, they may take Math 6/7. If students demonstrate high mastery of 5th and 6th grade concepts, they may take Math 7/8.

Students who have an “A” in 6th grade math and score in the 80th percentile on MAP may have the opportunity to advance to Math 7/8 in 7th grade.

Students do not need to have an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) to take accelerated math. In addition, an ALP does not guarantee accelerated math placement.

Advanced math classes are rigorous and require students not only to have excellent work habits, but also demonstrate fluency of elementary math standards, strong conceptual understandings, and ability to quantitatively reason.

Grade level math with no acceleration will have students on track to take Pre-Calculus or Calculus their senior year in high school.

WJMS Math Pathways

(download the West Jefferson Middle School Math Pathways in PDF format)

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Outdoor Lab

Outdoor Lab gives Jeffco students an opportunity for hands-on learning experiences in outdoor settings. Students spend their days outdoors on educational hikes and learning skills such as archery, working with leaders from Jeffco high schools, teachers from the visiting schools, and Outdoor Lab staff. No other district in the state has a week-long program to send students away and learn on property that the district owns.

This year's sixth graders will attend Jeffco Outdoor Lab School during the week of February 2, 2018.

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Personal Care Needs

Students that need to carry items needed on a monthly basis usually carry what they need in their pockets, in a small purse, or visit their lockers on the way to the bathroom.

There is not an official snack time but some teams allow one healthy snack a day. Bottles of water are allowed in every classroom. Beverages other than water are not allowed outside of the cafeteria.

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Standardized Testing

We do two kinds of standardized tests at our school, MAP and PARCC/CMAS.

Measures of Academic Progress, abbreviated as MAP, is given three times a year. MAP testing gives immediate feedback on students' growth for teachers and families. Its publisher, NWEA, has made sample questions and samples of how tools work on their MAP Test Warm-up page.

PARCC, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, and CMAS, Colorado Measures of Academic Success, are given twice a year. PARCC and MAP give a snapshot of student performance. Students in all grades take PARCC tests in Math and English Language Arts/Literacy. 8th grade students take the CMAS test in Science, and, in years we are selected to do so, 7th grade students take the CMAS test in Social Studies. Pearson has made student tutorials available for the PARCC tests at various grade levels on their Tutorials page, including ELA for grades 6-8 and Math for grades 6-7.

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Student Support

Note Taking Skills

Note taking skills are taught in elementary school and in middle school. It is helpful to know a variety of note taking structures so that students can choose what works best for them and for the subject.

Some supporting material on note taking methods and developing note taking skills:

  • Note Taking Systems, an 8-page PDF handout from Rutgers Learning Center that touches upon Cornell, outline, mapping, charting, and sentence methods, as well as the SQR3 method for reviewing reading material.

  • Notetaking & Reading, a LibGuide from CU Boulder Libraries

  • Taking Effective Notes, a mini-site from Austin Community College District

Organizational Skills

Organizational skills are taught to every 6th grader through their core classes and their Advise class.

The Study Skills class is for students who need significant support in one or more of the following areas: reading improvement skills, listening and note-taking skills, test-taking skills, organization skills, logical thinking and writing. This class replaces one of the student's electives.

Some supporting material on developing organizational skills:

Professional Student Support

We have several licensed staff members that work in student support: our counselors, a social worker, and a social-emotional learning specialist.

Our counselors, Mr. Shea Robinson and Ms. Jen Baker, work with students to support social- emotional growth, academics, and planning for college and career readiness. If your student is struggling, it is recommended to start by contacting your student's counselor. They can help you to find the correct solution for your student.

Our social-emotional learning specialist, David Fennimore, works with all students and teachers in the building around social and emotional learning competencies: Self Awareness, Social Awareness, Self Management, Responsible Decision-Making, and Relationship Skills. In his role, he teaches or co-teaches lessons about the social/emotional competencies, works with small groups, provides professional development for staff, and supports the entire school in understanding the needs of students.

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Textbooks and Test Preparation

Since curriculum evolves every year and textbooks are extremely expensive and cannot be changed every year, we do not have textbooks in most classes. Some textbooks are used as occasional resource material but cannot be used as an everyday resource. Our teachers use a combination of online resources, books and materials that support a current unit, and our district online curriculum. To see the Year At a Glance curriculum for your student, please go to http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/academics/curriculum/curriculum_by_grade

We do have math textbooks. If you are interested in purchasing a math textbook, ask your student's math teacher or our school's financial secretary to get the correct edition information and then purchase it on your own.

Most teachers have students use a study guide and/or their class notes for test preparation. If your student needs assistance with preparing for tests in a particular class, please contact the teacher and let them know about the concern. Work with the teacher to determine the best way for your child to prepare for tests.

All teachers are expected to have a website providing information about assignments and resources. Please contact the teacher if you cannot find what your child needs.

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Transportation and After-School Activities

If your student will be riding the bus, you can find your bus routes and bus stop times using InfoFinder (link will open in a new window) or by calling the West Terminal during regular business hours at 303-982-5215. There is an annual fee for riding the bus; more information is available on the Jeffco Public Schools Transportation site.

Please be aware that middle school and high school students ride the bus together.

When your student needs to ride a bus different than their regular route, please print and complete a Bus Pass Permission Slip and send it with your student on the day they need a bus pass.

There is not a late or "activity" bus so it is up to the families to arrange for transportation if your student stays after school to work with a teacher, participate in an extracurricular activity, or otherwise find it necessary to be on campus after the buses leave.

You may hear that students walk after school to local businesses, but we do not encourage that without adult supervision to help our students remember to make positive, respectful choices. It can be a temptation for students to behave in ways they might not with an adult present and the school is not responsible for students' behavior once they leave campus after the end of the school day.

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Volunteering and PTA

Parents are welcome to volunteer in our school any time outside of district and state testing dates, which will be communicated to our families. We maintain a Volunteer Opportunities page that is frequently updated with events and other needs in our school.

Our school's PTA meets after school on the third Thursday of each month other than December; the first meeting of the year will be on Thursday, September 24th, 2017 at 2:30 PM in the school library. Interested parents and community members are invited to commit to just one event or project during the year.

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Talking to Teachers

Excerpted from The Gifted Kids Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook by Judy Galbraith, M.A., and Jim Delisle, Ph.D. © 1996 Free Spirit Publishing Inc., Minneapolis, MN:

Ten Tips for Talking to Teachers

  1. Make an appointment to meet and talk. This shows the teacher that you're serious and you have some understanding of his or her busy schedule.Tell the teacher about how much time you'll need, be flexible, and don't be late.

  2. If you know other students who feel the way you do, consider approaching the teacher together. There's strength in numbers. If a teacher hears the same thing from four or five people, he or she is more likely to do something about it.

  3. Think through what you want to say before you go into your meeting with the teacher. Write down your questions or concerns. Make a list of the items you want to cover. You may even want to copy your list for the teacher so both of you can consult it during your meeting. (Or consider giving it to the teacher ahead of time.)

  4. Choose your words carefully. Example: Instead of saying, "I hate doing reports; they're boring and a waste of time," try, "Is there some other way I could satisfy this requirement? Could I do a video instead?" Strike the word "boring" from your vocabulary. It's a word that's not helpful for teachers (and it might even make them mad).

  5. Don't expect the teacher to do all of the work or propose all of the answers. Be prepared to make suggestions, offer solutions, even recommend resources. The teacher will appreciate that you took the initiative.

  6. Be diplomatic, tactful, and respectful. Teachers have feelings, too. And they're more likely to be responsive if you remember that the purpose of your meeting is conversation, not confrontation.

  7. Focus on what you need, not on what you think the teacher is doing wrong. The more the teacher learns about you, the more he or she will be able to help. The more defensive the teacher feels, the less he or she will want to help.

  8. Don't forget to listen. Strange but true, many students need practice in this essential skill. The purpose of your meeting isn't just to hear yourself talk.

  9. Bring your sense of humor. Not necessarily the joke-telling sense of humor, but the one that lets you laugh at yourself and your own misunderstandings and mistakes.

  10. If your meeting isn't successful, get help from another adult. "Successful" doesn't necessarily mean that you emerged victorious. Even if the teacher denies your request, your meeting can still be judged successful. If you had a real conversation - if you communicated openly, listened carefully, and respected each other's point of view - then congratulate yourself on a great meeting. If the air crackled with tension, the meeting fell apart, and you felt disrespected (or acted disrespectful), then it's time to bring in another adult. Suggestions: a guidance counselor, the gifted program coordinator, or another teacher you know and trust who seems likely to support you and advocate for you. Once you've found help, approach your teacher and try again.

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