November 16, 2016

Posted by Peggy Riley on 12/7/2016

Mathematics and 7th Grade Teen Screen

Dear Families:
This week's Math Memo will focus on three topics: math homework, iPad use, and providing students with additional math support at school.  These were among some key concerns voiced at last week's Parent Education meeting as well as conversations I have had with individual parents.
Mathematics News
Math Homework: Many of you have expressed confusion and frustration about your child's homework experience.  We want to ensure that students will be successful working independently at home and that parents can provide adequate and easy support if needed (including access to resources if they require review of a concept or instruction).
The purpose of homework is to reinforce mathematics knowledge and skills. Homework should provide students, first and foremost, with an opportunity to practice and review skills they already know. Homework is not intended to be new material that students have not been taught.  In some situations, however, it may present an opportunity for extended learning, which may involve some "productive struggle" for students. Some recent math homework has involved new material, rather than practice and review.  This has lead to frustration and "unproductive struggle" for some students.
In response to comments by students and parents concerning homework, the math department has determined that some exercise problems that were previously assigned for homework would be better incorporated as part of the class lesson.  Homework will now consist of a combination of targeted skill practice based on classroom learning, and personalized math skill practice.  Study Island and Dreambox are two online, aligned programs that will provide this homework support.
Dreambox is an adaptive math program that personalizes instruction and can be used for both intervention and enrichment.  Dreambox will provide students with immediate feedback and both teachers and parents will have access to this data.  Please refer to the Del Mar math homework website at for more information. 
Study Island is an online tool that provides an opportunity for quality academic support, practice, and real-time assessment data leading to mastery of the California Common Core Math Standards. The immediate feedback and built-in remediation, coupled with the actionable data, enables students, parents and teachers to easily monitor progress.  Students can work through questions using a standard test format or an interactive game format.  To receive credit (a "blue ribbon") for a topic, a student must complete at least ten questions and get a minimum of seven of them correct. 
By Thanksgiving break, all students will have taken pre-tests for both Study Island and Dreambox, so that upon returning from break on November 28, they will be ready to begin using these programs for their homework practice.
Algebra HW: Please note that students in the compacted 8th grade algebra course will continue receiving the same type of homework as they have in the past.
iPad Use:  This week, our IT department has deleted Safari from all student iPads.  When students use iPad devices, they will be for math use only.
Morning Math Support:  As we have done in prior years, Del Mar will offer additional math support for all interested students three mornings per week.  Ms. Marshall and/or Dr. Gold will be available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings from 7:30-8:00 am in Room 6.  Students, from any class and grade level, are welcome to drop in if they have questions or need help.  -Begins week after Thanksgiving break!
Teachers are also available for "office hours" at certain break or advisory class times; students should speak with their teacher to arrange an alternative time toask questions if any of the morning times do not work.  
More Math Information Coming Soon
We are in the process of working on new ways to communicate accurate and timely feedback about how your child is doing in math, beyond the limited information provided in PowerSchool.  More information will be coming soon.  Of course, if at any time, you have questions about your child's progress in math, do not hesitate to contact your student's math teacher via email.
Teen Screen Preview for 7th Grade Families
We are pleased to announce that seventh grade students will be offered the opportunity to participate in a free mental wellness screening program called TeenScreen. Mental wellness is a key component to the overall health and development of today's teenagers. Del Mar is committed to supporting students struggling with emotional difficulties early and linking them to effective support services.  Developed by Columbia University, and run by Stanford University in conjunction with the Family Service Agency of Marin, the program provides us with a proven method of identification of concerns which can lead to help for our teenagers. On Friday, we will send to you an email letter and permission form for this free, confidential program. Students will learn about the program during a brief presentation on November 29.  We hope many of our seventh graders will participate.

PTA News

"Raising Resilient Girls"
Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 7-8:30 pm
Edna Maguire Elementary School
80 Lomita Drive, Mill Valley
Co-sponsored by the Reed Union School District PTA and It Takes a Village, Mill Valley
For more information on Parent Education events, pleaseclick hereParent Teachers Association (PTA) / Parent Education
Come Support and cheer for our students as they participate in the annual Turkey Trot; 11:21am on Monday the 21st.

"Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age; Screening and Discussion"
Tuesday, November 29, 2016, 7:00-8:30 pm
Marin Country Day School
Sponsored by the MCDS but open to the RUSD Community (Parents Only)
Open to all, no registration required.

Winter Wonderland Dance - 7pm-9pm on Dec. 2nd
All Del Mar Middle School students are invited and can purchase tickets at the front office.  The gym will be transformed with a DJ, photo booth, tattoo station, and Winter Wonderland decor. Festive attire or white outfits are encouraged.
New Winter Menus now available at Choice Lunch!  Pleaseclick here to order.

Foundation News

PLEDGE DAY IS ONE WEEK AWAY!The Foundation for Reed School's annual Pledge Day is next Thursday! Please help us meet our $2 million commitment to RUSD by making a donation or pledging your support by November 17th! EVERY FAMILY COUNTS!
More than 1,500 students at Reed, Bel Aire and Del Mar count on The Foundation to ensure funding for specialists and programs in Art Education, PE, Music, Technology, STEAM Labs, Libraries, Spanish; a school psychologist, a Math 
TOSA, and more. Help us meet our $2 million commitment to RUSD!

Grandparents/Special Friends Day at Reed and Bel Aire! 
Reed will host its Grandparents/Special Friends day on Monday, November 21st and Bel Aire will host its Grandparents/Special Friends day on Tuesday, November 22nd. Please ask your loved ones to RSVP to their invitation by November 16th with the name of each attendee and include your child's name and grade. Click here  for more information about this fun-filled event!