Friday, September 29, 2017

Culture of Kindness

This is a picture of a bulletin board that promotes spreading kindness like confetti.
                                Our new bulletin board outside of the Guidance Office

As we end September and officially head into the fall, we wanted to thank all of the students, teachers, and parents for an amazing start to the school year.  Over the first month of school, we have seen a decrease in tardies, absences, and detentions from last school year at this time.  The kids are working hard and have been treating each other, and the school, with respect!  This proves our belief that the more we work towards creating a positive school culture and climate, the more our students will want to be here, and want to consistently do the right thing!

Here are some upcoming events here at SMS:

Oct 5th - Our first 1/2 day of the year.  Lunch will be served and dismissal will be at 12:30

Oct 9th - Columbus Day - No School

Oct 11th - Midterm grades close

Oct 18th - Progress Reports available online (if you are new to the school your login information will come the week before)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fall Celebrations

Fall Celebrations

This image showcases one of the school's new water refill station located on the first floor.

Today marks the first day of fall and we already have a lot to celebrate at SMS! Thanks to our friends at the PTO, For The Love of Swampscott and two of our teachers, Mr. Andrake and Mrs. Vanderhoof, Swampscott Middle School now has two water refill stations.  These stations are not only environmentally friendly but will also us to track water consumption at our school. The first water refill station is located outside of the first-floor teacher's room and the second one sits in the 6th-grade hallway across from Mrs. Dalton's room.

We also celebrate the teachers of the Blue Lobsters who gave their students a day to remember at Crane Beach in Ipswich, MA. The 8B students received first class lessons in marine biology and even got the opportunity to use seine nets in the sea.  It truly was an experience that no one will ever forget! Please enjoy the images below that capture the magic of that day.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Home of the Big Blue

This image shows our current 8th Grade class at Swampscott Middle School gathered outside in front of the building. The students are celebrating the new home of the Big Blue sign.
Our 8th graders in front of the new SMS sign.

We would like to thank our PTO for buying our amazing new sign.  So many of our students have already commented about how much they love this new addition over our front doorway, and some of them were literally cheering when they first laid eyes on it!  This provides an added sense of pride to our students and staff, as well as an overall aesthetic improvement.  

Thanks to all of the parents and guardians who came out to listen to our fantastic teachers at our Curriculum Nights.  We had a tremendous turnout on both nights.  This just proves that our home to school connection in this community is second to none.  Let's continue to work together this year to make sure that your children have an amazing experience at SMS!

Thanks to everyone for another incredible week here at SMS!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Never Forget -9/11

We wanted to share with our entire SMS community the message delivered over the announcements this morning.  The day started with the song above.

Good Morning Swampscott Middle School. On September 11, 2001, hijacked planes struck the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in Shanksville, PA.  We watched in horror as thousands of innocent lives were taken and our country was fractured.  Sixteen years later, it is still incredibly difficult to see the news coverage of the tragedy that took place on this day.  However, in the wake of such devastation, our country also proved just how strong we are.  Strangers became neighbors who dedicated their time, provided unwavering support, and extended comfort to those who needed it the most.  Certainly, we could use a bit more of the kindness that followed the devastation of 9/11 in today’s world. To pay tribute to those who lost their lives on September 11th, and also to the heroes of that day, we will now pause for a moment of silence. 

Be good to each other.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Working Collaboratively Towards Change

This logo says, "Be the Difference," and is meant to remind our students and staff that we are in charge of making a positive difference at Swampscott Middle School.

We finished a great four day week here at SMS and are looking forward to our first full week of the school year coming up!  Just a reminder that Curriculum Nights are on Sept 12th from 6pm-7pm for 5th & 6th-grade parents/guardians and Sept 14th from 6pm-7pm for 7th & 8th-grade parents/guardians. We are excited for parents and guardians to meet our teachers and hear about the incredible year that lies ahead.

As mentioned in our previous blog about social media, we spoke with each grade this week about being safe, smart, and kind while online.  A big thanks go out to Officer Reen for coming to SMS to help talk to our 6th-8th-grade students about being safe on social media.  Working collaboratively with the Swampscott Police Department benefits all of our students, and helps keep our children safe both in and out of school.

Thanks to all of the students and teachers for another fantastic week.  Have a wonderful weekend and we will see you on Monday!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Social Media Safety

This image shows a distressed teenaged girl looking at her cell phone.  The image is meant to represent the negative affects of social media.

ATTENTION ALL PARENTS: The following letter pertains to social media use and includes suggestions for talking to your children and monitoring their use of technology to ensure the safety and well-being of all students.

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Since we at Swampscott Middle School know students can achieve their full potential only when they feel safe, secure, and supported, one of the cornerstones of our district’s policies is a commitment to preventing and addressing negative social media behaviors.

Over the last few years, Ms. Sanborn and I have been receiving reports and spending a considerable amount of time not only discussing these concerns but also taking disciplinary action as a result of an increase in the amount of negative social media related incidents  (i.e. online harassment, sexting, cyberbullying and mean-spirited communication). Even though these behaviors are occurring outside of the school and off school grounds, we are committed to remaining part of the solution since we are fully aware that social media problems can cause short and long-term consequences.

As leaders of your school community, we understand the importance of our partnership with you. We urge you to take some time to speak to your children about how they use and are impacted by social media. Here are some suggestions that might be helpful as we all work together to ensure the safety and emotional health of all our students:

• Try to maintain an open, honest and caring dialogue with your
children about their technology use. Remind them that you are 100%
committed to their safety and well-being, and that all discussions and
potential monitoring of their technology use are coming from a place
of deep concern for them.

• Consistently keep a close, watchful eye on your children’s
technology use. This includes all online activity and texting, as well as
the use of social media apps via cell phones, tablets, laptops, and
any other form of technology that provides your children with access
to these activities (i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.).

• Prepare for the fact that your children may resist your efforts to
monitor their technology usage. It’s important that we view the
potential risks associated with technology to be as serious, and
sometimes even more serious, than traditional “risky” activities (e.g.
drinking, sexual behavior).

• Stay informed regarding current trends in which children are
participating via technology platforms such as social media apps.
Utilize your own local network of surrounding adults to discuss the
latest trends in which kids are partaking, or conduct your own online
research to stay up to date. Brief, periodic online research can be the
difference between keeping children safe versus exposing them to
unwanted risk factors.

• If you deem appropriate, utilize parental control and cell phone
monitoring apps and/or various online monitoring services.

• At home, consider designating a central location to keep phones in
your view.

• Remind your children that if they would not say something to another
person directly, they should not post it on social media.

Over the next week, we will be speaking to each grade about being safe, responsible, and kind while using social media, and what to do if someone is using social media in a negative way.  

Please know that the school is here to support you as you guide your
children through their use of technology. It’s important that we honor the
inevitable role that technology plays in our kids’ lives, and empower them to
use it in a healthy, positive way.

See below for two apps that can empower parents and guardians in monitoring their child’s online behaviors:


Jason Calichman, M.Ed


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