Student Spotlight

Many people participate in community service because they enjoy helping others and improving their community. One of those individuals is NVMS 8th grader Shauntaya Williams. She and her family spend every weekend serving their community by providing food and other items for the homeless. When asked how her school community could help her in this commendable endeavor, she stated that they could really use items like toothpaste, tooth brushes, deodorant, etc. to pass out. If you would like to help me help her, please contact me here. The items donated will be collected and passed out to those in need. If you would like to learn more about Shauntaya’s initiative, please take a look at the video below.

If you have any questions about this or anything else related to North View Middle School please connect with me here or follow me at @NVMSPrincipal.

Need a Good Book to Read?

At North View Middle School we believe that our students education does not end when the school bell rings. Because of this belief, I would like to use this post to recommend books for your middle level learner to engage with at home. Please read the information provided by Allison Sirovy, an 8th grade English teacher at North View Middle School, below to put a great book in your students hands.


 Knowledge Is Power

“The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading.”
~ David Bailey, English photographer
I don’t know about you, but our country’s politics make me feel anxious and sad every day – not for me but my students. My students are the most amazing 8th graders, and they rise up to my high expectations day in and day out. Yet . . . many of my students have obstacles that they are trying to overcome: poverty, homelessness, racial inequities, religious discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, immigration issues, parental incarceration . . . The list could go on and on, and still my students come to school because they know that “knowledge is power.”
Some days, I wonder if I truly am helping my students. There is so much hate in our country right now. Too many Americans look down on my students because of their race, social economic status, religion, and so on. Is the fact that I show up to school every day going to make a difference in my students’ lives? I have hope that I do make a difference.
My main focus is helping the kids to understand that reading and writing gives them power – power to beat the system and power to be who they want to be. My students are reading books with characters like them (mirrors) and reading books about characters not like them (windows). With all of this reading, my students are able to see our country and the world from multiple perspectives, which gives them power – power to help make the world a better place.
Because I have such a diverse group of students, I read quite diverse books. I love middle grade and young adult novels because I feel more connected to my students that way and I can help my students find books that speak to them.
I have to give a quick shout-out to our amazing Media Center Specialist, Anna Teeple, because she has a way with helping our most “still developing” readers find books they love! It’s a team effort at our school, and I appreciate all of her support with our students. Thanks, Anna!
Now, on to the books I have read recently that I hope you will enjoy as well . . .
Posted by John David Anderson 
 
This is a must-read for all middle school students, parents of middle school students, teachers, administrators, counselors, you name it. It delves into the topic of how words really do hurt and how we treat others. I plan on using this for a read-aloud in my Advisory class soon. This book will definitely make for good classroom conversations.
Goodreads blurb: In middle school, words aren’t just words. They can be weapons. They can be gifts. The right words can win you friends or make you enemies. They can come back to haunt you. Sometimes they can change things forever.


When cell phones are banned at Branton Middle School, Frost and his friends Deedee, Wolf, and Bench come up with a new way to communicate: leaving sticky notes for each other all around the school. It catches on, and soon all the kids in school are leaving notes—though for every kind and friendly one, there is a cutting and cruel one as well.

In the middle of this, a new girl named Rose arrives at school and sits at Frost’s lunch table. Rose is not like anyone else at Branton Middle School, and it’s clear that the close circle of friends Frost has made for himself won’t easily hold another. As the sticky-note war escalates, and the pressure to choose sides mounts, Frost soon realizes that after this year, nothing will ever be the same.

Akata Warrior (Akata Witch series, book #2) by Nnedi Okorafor 

 If you are into fantasy books, this is the series for you. I enjoyed the first book Akata Witch and enjoyed the second book in the series as well. It’s great to have books to share with my students that take place in other countries, and this book takes place in Nigeria, from which I have several students. It’s a fun, fast-paced, and intense book that gives the reader a different view of the world.

Goodreads blurb: A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book.

Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysteries town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity.

Much-honored Nnedi Okorafor, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards, merges today’s Nigeria with a unique world she creates. Akata Warrior blends mythology, fantasy, history and magic into a compelling tale that will keep readers spellbound.

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
 
I didn’t start out loving this book. I didn’t like the main character because I felt she was the stereotypical, upper-middle class white girl with typical problems. She seemed standoffish to me and a little self-centered, but . . . about forty to fifty pages in I had to check myself. I was being critical of a character because of my preconceived notions – exactly what I tell my own children and my students not to do because people are dealing with issues that are usually hidden. The main character, Bailey, is dealing with problems, and I shouldn’t have judged. Well, I loved this book! It reminded me that books give us knowledge and help us to be more empathetic, which is what I obviously needed.
 
Goodreads blurb: The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is a whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

 

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green 

 

 
Author John Green has the ability to take the lives and emotions of teenagers and turn them into books that everyone loves. Now, I know John Green is famous for his novel The Fault in Our Stars, but that wasn’t my favorite books of his. I love his many other books that feature quirky teenage characters from all walks of life.Turtles All the Way Down doesn’t disappoint. Aza, Daisy, and Davis are truly likable characters, each dealing with their individual problems.

Goodreads blurb: Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

 You can learn more about great books for middle school students and connect with Alison Sirovy here.

If you have any questions about this or anything else related to North View Middle School please connect with me here or follow me at @NVMSPrincipal.

Reppin Knight Pride- Choice Day

At North View Middle School (NVMS) we believe that teachers and students deserve a school environments that is safe, supportive, and conducive to learning. To ensure this supportive and inclusive environment, we pay close attention to the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of all students. We provide our students with a school-wide system of supports that include proactive strategies for defining, teaching, and acknowledging appropriate student behaviors to create a positive school environment.

At NVMS we have developed 3 behavior expectations that are applied school-wide and apply to all students and staff in every environment.

At North View we believe that students should be:

  • Respectful
  • Responsible and Safe
  • Ready

To ensure this occurs we teach those expected behaviors by direct instruction, modeling and reinforce that learning by allowing time for role play, practice, and by giving reminders and prompts.

In addition to actively supervising and monitoring behavior, we also positively reinforce expected behaviors by acknowledging students who meet or exceed our expectations. We do this by handing out Knight Pride tickets that students can use in our school store, hosting Knight Pride assemblies where students are acknowledged publicly by their peers and staff and providing students with a “Choice Day”.

Students who earn “Choice Day” do so, by not receiving behavioral referrals or participating in restitution activities. By doing this they get to skip class and participate in a variety of activities hosted by school staff. Our last “Choice Day” allowed us to provide opportunities for students to watch a movie, go sledding, dance to K-Pop, play dodge ball or basketball, swim in our pool along with a wide variety of other activities shown in the pictures and video below.

This is one of my favorite days of the year. The students love it and staff enjoy getting in on the fun too!

 

One2One Standout Student

At North View Middle School we believe that the school environment should be invitingsafeinclusive, and supportive of all and every student’s academic and personal development should be guided by an adult advocate. While much of this support is provided by staff at the building level, we also partner with community members to ensure that every student has a champion.

One example of this is our partnership with the One2One mentoring program. The One2One mentorship program partnership began in November of 2011 with the goal of developing a mentoring program that would provide support to students struggling within the school environment. It has since evolved into a multi-school partnership supporting over a hundred middle and elementary school students. One student that has been supported by this program is one of our current 8th graders, Shaliesch.

Shaliesch was asked to speak at the most recent One2One Mentor fundraising luncheon. She spoke in front of 200 people about her experience as a student, her time in the One2One program and her hopes for the future. After her speech Shaliesch end up being the most famous people in the room. If you would like to more about this program, please click here.

If you have any questions about this or anything else related to North View Middle School please connect with me here or follow me at @NVMSPrincipal.

Need a Good Book to Read?

At North View Middle School we believe that our students education does not end when the school bell rings. Because of this belief, I would like to use this post to recommend books for your middle level learner to engage with at home. Please read the information provided by Allison Sirovy, an 8th grade English teacher at North View Middle School, below to put a great book in your students hands.


 New experiences . . . all from my living room couch

 I apologize for not writing on this blog for a few weeks, but I’ve been hooked on reading so many great books (and teaching 8th grade English)! In looking over my most recent reads, I’ve read books ranging from a Native American childhood in the Southwest to an Egyptian girl, who was sold as a slave at eight years old to a wealthy family.

These books have made me cry, have made me laugh, and have made me think about how lucky I am to live the life I live. Reading lets me experience the lives of others without ever leaving my couch, and I am so thankful that middle school students and high school students have a multitude of fabulous books by fabulous authors to chose from. Here are the four books I have read in the past four weeks:

Rattlesnake Mesa: Stories from a Native American Childhood by Ednah New Rider Weber

I’ll be honest; I usually judge a book by it’s cover. That’s terrible – I know, especially since I’m an English teacher, and this book had sat in my closet for over a year because I didn’t like the cover. Well, I finally decided to read it, and I wonder why I waited so long. It was an eye-opening book. The author, Ednah New Rider Weber, shares brief stories about her childhood – about her friends and family and her times at an Indian boarding school, which she, along with thousands of other Native children, were forced to attend by our government in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Ms. New Rider Weber has a way of telling each story with heart yet at the same time making each story brief, so she can share as many of her wonderful (and heartbreaking) stories as possible.

Goodreads blurb (a really quirk blurb that doesn’t do the book justice): EdNah, a seven-year-old Pawnee girl, goes to live with a father she hardly knows on a Navajo reservation after her grandmother dies.

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson


Just read this book! That’s all I need to say.

Goodreads blurb: Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother says she has to take every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods.

But Jade doesn’t need support. And just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.

Friendships, race, privilege, identity—this compelling and thoughtful story explores the issues young women face.

Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave by Shyima Hall
 
Recently and over the past several months, there have been news stories about human trafficking in the United States and across the globe, but it never really dawned on me what was truly happening to these children, teens, and adults who were sold into slavery or captured into slavery. Shyima Hall’s story begins in Egypt where she is a happy child even though she lives in abject poverty. At eight years old, she is sold by her parents to a wealthy family in Egypt; this family eventually leaves Egypt and takes Shyima with them to the United States to be their slave from before sun-up to well after sundown. There is a happy ending to this real-life story, but that happiness comes slowly to Shyima.
Goodreads blurb: Shyima Hall was born in Egypt on September 29, 1989, the seventh child of desperately poor parents. When she was eight, her parents sold her into slavery. Shyima then moved two hours away to Egypt’s capitol city of Cairo to live with a wealthy family and serve them eighteen hours a day, seven days a week. When she was ten, her captors moved to Orange County, California, and smuggled Shyima with them. Two years later, an anonymous call from a neighbor brought about the end of Shyima’s servitude—but her journey to true freedom was far from over.

A volunteer at her local police department since she was a teenager, Shyima is passionate about helping to rescue others who are in bondage. Now a US citizen, she regularly speaks out about human trafficking and intends to one day become an immigration officer. In Hidden Girl, Shyima candidly reveals how she overcame her harrowing circumstances and brings vital awareness to a timely and relevant topic.

Patina (Track series, #2) by Jason Reynolds
 
If you’ve never read a book by Jason Reynolds, I highly recommend everything he has written! Reynolds has a way of getting to the heart of the characters in his story and making his readers want to finish one of his books in one sitting.

Patina is another one of these books. It is the second book in his Track series. (Ghost was the first one in the series, which

I also highly recommend.) Patina, a.k.a. Patty, will have you cheering her on as she deals with her mom’s illness, her new school, and doing her best to take care of everyone around her, including her younger sister, Maddy.

Goodreads blurb: Patina, or Patty, runs like a flash. She runs for many reasons—to escape the taunts from the kids at the fancy-schmancy new school she’s been sent to since she and her little sister had to stop living with their mom. She runs from the reason WHY she’s not able to live with her “real” mom any more: her mom has The Sugar, and Patty is terrified that the disease that took her mom’s legs will one day take her away forever. So Patty’s also running for her mom, who can’t. But can you ever really run away from any of this? As the stress builds up, it’s building up a pretty bad attitude as well. Coach won’t tolerate bad attitude. No day, no way. And now he wants Patty to run relay…where you have to depend on other people? How’s she going to do THAT?

You can learn more about great books for middle school students and connect with Alison Sirovy here.

Apps You Want To Know

At North View Middle School we believe that schools and families must work together to provide the best possible learning for every young adolescent. We also believe that schools should take the initiative in involving and educating families. Because of this belief, I am writing this post to keep you informed about the apps and corresponding sites that your students might come across while using their iPads, smartphones or other digital devises. If you have any questions about this post or anything related to NVMS, please connect with me here.

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Pic of the day: Being on time

At North View Middle School we believe that every student’s academic and personal development should be guided by an adult advocate. Because of this belief, we ensure that each of students is paired with an advisory teacher and meets with this advisory teacher and about 8 to 10 peers every day to discuss college and career readiness, build community and hear about important information related to their school day. Pictured below is a group of sixth graders helping their class mate problem solve how to get to class on time.

If you have any questions about this or anything else related to North View Middle School please connect with me here or follow me at @NVMSPrincipal.