Thursday, September 27, 2018

MAP Testing

We are almost done with our Fall MAP testing. Fall testing does two things, first, it allows us to look back at what progress they made last  year. Second it allows us to set goals for this year. I am incredibly impressed with the growth students made last year.

The expected growth in Reading in one year is 2 - 3 points. The average growth for this class last year was 10 points. That's huge and speaks very highly  of Mr. Redmill, the efforts of the students, and family support.

Language Usage, which tests writing skills, had an average of 4 points growth, with 2 points being the expected yearly growth.

Science had an average gain of 10 points.

This class is incredibly capable and I'm looking forward to watching them soar this year. I will be reviewing the MAP test results with each person individually at Fall Conferences. If you haven't signed up for those, now is a good time!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Book Reports

Every month 8th graders are expected to read a minimum of one book and to present a book report to go with it. We are half way through this month's reports and I wanted to share two excellent examples!

Riley created a poster to go with her book while Mikayla created a movie poster for hers. Both did fantastic work.

Middle School Math Expectations

Middle Level Math
Course 1, 2, and 3 are exciting years in which students are moving away from more concrete concepts and on to more abstract ideas. These years are the foundation for the Algebra and above classes they will need to take in High School. Every day in class, students will take notes on the new lesson. This gives them something to look back on while doing their homework and when reviewing for tests. It also gives parents a way to know how the lesson was taught in class. 

Homework is assigned every night with very few exceptions. Each night students will complete the Lesson Practice section of the assigned lesson or lessons. This is 30 problems until they get to lesson 90 in Course 3. Then it is 25. Each homework lesson should be on its own page with an answer column and all work shown. A beautiful example is below. Notice each problem is numbered clearly, all work is shown, and the answer column is easily legible.

              How do I know if my child is struggling?
             If your child is taking longer than 45 minutes to do their math, OR they are missing more than 5 problems per lesson on the homework, they are struggling.

Math Assessments
Student progress in math is assessed every 5 lessons in Saxon. These assessments are 20 questions long and test not only the last 5 lessons, but also prior material. Students are allowed to use their notes on these assessments. These tests will come home to be reviewed and signed by a parent.

               How do I know if my child is struggling?
             If your child is consistently missing more than 4 problems on these assessments, that indicates a need for more exposure to the content. This might mean additional adult attention during homework or meeting with the teacher. If your child is missing more than 7 consistently, they are struggling and a teacher conference is necessary.  NOTE: A single low score does not indicate a huge issue, everyone has a bad day.

MAP Testing: During MAP testing, math progress is tested. MAP shows us not only an overall score, but also digs into strands of mathematical understanding.

                   How do I know if my child is struggling?
               Students scoring below the 30th percentile is a red flag. 

Ashland Volunteers *Updated with Lottery Results*

It was a pleasure to see you all on Thursday night. As we discussed, the Ashland volunteers will be chosen using a randomizer from the pool of names submitted to me before Tuesday (9/25) at noon. Results will be posted at the bottom of this blog post Tuesday afternoon.

Volunteers must complete the background check, be available from May 28th - May 31st, and be prepared to be with the group the entire time. 

So far I have the following people in the pool: 

Cathy Stores
Samantha Houghton
Betsy Mitchelldyer

Andy Coate

Cathy Stores
Samantha Houghton
Betsy Mitchelldyer

Andy Coate

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Picture Day

This year we are once again partnering with Apple of My Eye Photography for school pictures!

Our picture day for 8th grade is:

Wednesday, October 3rd

Please see the below FAQ's to learn how Apple of My Eye photos works. In short, you will not need to submit an order form or money before or on picture day. All your child needs to bring is his/her smile! 😀

Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Apple of My Eye Photography? We are a Portland based photography company on a mission to transform school photography. Our mission is to provide students, parents, and school staff a great experience and best-in-class photo quality.
We provide parents with multiple images of their child via our secure online ordering system, making it easy for parents to customize their packages with the image(s) of their choice. No paperwork or paper order forms are required – on picture day, your child just needs to show up with their smile!
In addition to being photographers we are also passionate about supporting our the educational programs in our community through our Give Back Program, in which we give a percentage of our profits back to our partner schools. In the past five years we have given over $20,000 back to our partner schools.

Why are your pictures taken outside? We are natural light photographers and we are passionate about the quality of our pictures. Before picture day we find beautiful places around the school that will provide a nice natural background to the pictures. You can see some samples of our pictures at
Note: on rainy days we take pictures under building overhangs or using one of our canopies.

How do parents view and order images? About 10 days following picture day, parents will receive an email from the school with details on how to view the gallery of images. Parents will be provided a unique password to access their child’s password secure online ordering site. All ordering and payments are handled via or website.
Again, unlike most large school photo companies, we do not require parents to order or pay for pictures before picture day. We believe that parents should have the opportunity to see the images before making a purchasing decision.

How do parents choose the image that they want to buy? We typically provide parents with two to four images of their child to choose from. Parents can choose as many of these images to purchase. They can even mix and match images inside of one photo package.

When will parents receive their pictures? We ship directly to the parents! Parents should expect to receive the pictures within 7-10 days after ordering.
Who should the parent contact if they have questions? Parents should email Our goal is to respond within 48 hours.

How does picture day work? We work closely with school staff to create a detailed schedule for the day. We will work with a couple of parent volunteers to ensure that the whole process runs smoothly and that we have enough time devoted to each child.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Romanian Cultural Festival This Weekend

During the school year, I will post activities that enrich what students are learning in the classroom, or have learned in previous years. I encourage families to attend, but of course they are not required.

Saturday, September 22 | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Help celebrate Maryhill's deep Romanian ties! Enjoy performances by Seattle’s Datina Folk Ensemble, St. Mary’s Youth Group from Portland, and singer Romeo Cristea. Sample traditional Romanian fare and try hands-on art activities with a Romanian theme. Lectures and presentations on  Queen Marie, Romanian identity, arts and architecture will also be part of the day.
MUSEUM ADMISSION is FREE on September 22

Hands on Art | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cut and decorate your own version of Queen Marie’s crown, place symbols of Romanian culture on a life-sized paper copy of Queen Marie’s gown on exhibit at Maryhill, create your own Romanian yarn doll, or try your hand at embroidery using traditional Romanian patterns. And if that wasn’t enough, enjoy a game of beanbag toss—through a cut out of Romania! You can also make a Romanian flag to show your love of Romania!
Sample Romania Fare | noon to 2:30 p.m.Enjoy tastes of traditional Romanian foods. Cannon Power Plaza. Hosted by members of the Romanian community in Portland. Cost: $5 for a meal sampler and $5.00 for a dessert sampler (tax included). 

Music and Dance | noon to 2:30 p.m.
Watch folk dance and music performances by Seattle’s Romanian Folkloric Ensemble, Datina, St. Mary’s Youth Group from Portland and singer Romeo Cristea on the Cannon Power Plaza. Emcee will be Michael Oros, president of the Romanian American Society and member of Maryhill’s board of trustees.

LECTURES in the M. J. Murdock Charitable Education Center:

Pelișor Castle and Queen Marie | 2:45 p.m.
Learn more about Queen Marie’s ties to one of Romania’s most stunning castles. Daniela Voitescu Head of Public Relations, Marketing and Cultural Projects, Peleş Castle Museum.

Revisiting Romanian Identity from Afar | 3 p.m.
Hear from Augustin Ioan and Anca Mizumschi’s, author of the essay collection “My Suspended Land” (2018).

Queen Marie in Romanian History | 3:30 p.m.

Presentation and Q&A with Beatrice Todireanu, historian and coordinator of the book The Queen and the Front will talk about Queen Marie and her contribution to the 1918 unification of Romanian provinces.
Romanian Royalty’s Impact on Architecture | 4 p.m
Architects Augustin Ioan and Marius Marcu Lăpădat in dialogue about royalty and architecture and the impact of the monarchy on Romanian architecture, with a focus on Queen Marie’s contribution.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

8th Grade Night THIS THURSDAY

8th Grade Meeting
September 20th,  2018
6:30 PM

September 20th at 6:30 PM is our 8th grade family information night. Every family will want to have at least one person there to learn about:

  • being promoted from 8th grade
  • understanding the wide range of options for high school
  • choosing a high school that best fits your student
  • our end of year trip
  • fundraising possibilities

This is your chance to help shape our end of year trip and have a say in the extent of our fundraising. 

Please come with any questions you have about high schools, GPA translations, deadlines, essays, recommendation letters, etc. 

Also, please bring any ideas you have for fundraisers that align with our school mission. 

Science Lesson

Today we dove head first into the study of physics, beginning with understanding the terminology used to describe things.

We learned about scalar and vector quantities and then used them while learning about distance and displacement. To practice using these terms, students were asked to build a maze and guide someone through it using the appropriate vector quantities.

These were three of the stand out mazes! Excellent work Jehan, London, and Riley!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Week 1 Summary

We've successfully completed the first full week of 8th grade. I couldn't be more impressed with how focused and hard working this group is. 

As I said at Back To School Night, this is the year to build systems of communication that center around your young adult. For a while, I will provide some starter questions for you. After  you've talked with them, if you still have questions, feel free to email me! 

Math - What kind of problems did you find yourself needed to correct this week? What lesson are you on and when will your first test be? 

Writing - What was the article about that you read? What thoughts did it prompt? How did you handle the shorter deadline? What are your plans for the next one? 

History - What are the PALS? What were some examples of effective monarchs? Which monarch were you and were they an example of a good monarch or a poor monarch? 

Science - What lab did you last Thursday? Tell me about your robotics plan. What is the goal and how is your team approaching it? 

Health - Tell me about analyzing influences? How do you see the things discussed influencing you? (Bonus points for sharing with your student the things that influence your decisions in life)

Vocab - How did your daily tests go? What is your plan to continue doing amazing work?

Google Classroom Family Invitations

Image result for google classroom logo

Today we added guardians to our Google Classroom invite list. What does that mean for you?

"When guardians join Classroom, they receive regular, automatic email summaries for each of their students. Guardians choose the frequency of the emails—daily or weekly—and can unsubscribe at any time.
Guardian email summaries include:
  • Missing work—Work that’s late at the time the email was sent
  • Upcoming work—Work that’s due today and tomorrow (for daily emails) or work that’s due in the upcoming week (for weekly emails)
  • Class activity—Announcements, assignments, and questions recently posted by teachers"
You will not see the actual work they submitted or their grades on it. Those are things you will need to ask your student! If you did not get an invitation today, or want a different email attached to it, just let me know! 

Middle School Assembly Coming Up

We are pleased to be partnering with Kaiser to bring our anti bullying beliefs to the stage with their performance of "Above, Between, Below" on  Tuesday, October 9th at 9:30am.
"Have you ever sent a text message you instantly regretted but couldn’t take back? Posted a hilariously embarrassing video of your friend on Instagram, only to have them get really mad? Found out people were spreading nasty rumors about you and felt helpless to do anything about it?
Created specifically for a middle school audience, Above Between Below allows young people to observe the shifting status of bully, bullied, and bystander. The program features a school-wide performance, a post-show facilitated discussion, and optional classroom workshops.
Predominant messages include...
  • Actions can have unintended consequences.
  • Bullying is a behavior, not an identity.
  • Social media can be used as a tool for wide-scale gossip and public shaming.
  • People can be on both the giving and receiving end of bullying behaviors in different situations.
  • Everyone needs to take personal responsibility for their own power to harm or help others."

I encourage parents to attend so we can all use the same language in supporting our students.

Weekend STEM Extension Opportunity

September 15-16, 2018, 9:30am-5:30pm
The Portland Mini Maker Faire at OMSI showcases the amazing works of all kinds and ages of makers—anyone who is embracing the do-it-yourself (or do-it-together) spirit and wants to share their accomplishments with an appreciative audience. It is a community-based, fun and engaging learning event that inspires everyone to become a maker and connect to people and projects in their local community. The sheer variety of the more than 100 exhibits, most of them hands-on, will boggle the mind. The Portland Mini Maker Faire will run the gamut from demonstrations of 3D printing and robot welding, to knife forging, bee keeping, recycled skateboard jewelry, and much more.


It's that time again...  There have been a few reported cases of lice in the school already. Below you'll find our lice policy and some helpful hints:

Cascade Policy:

  • Whole school/whole class lice checks will not occur (due to state and district policy as well as to protect the emotional needs of our students).
  • If a pattern of lice incidents occurs (>3 students/classroom) individual students will be sent to the office and checked confidentially.
  • If a teacher sees a student itching excessively or showing other signs, they will be sent to the office discreetly. A trained member of the office team will privately and confidentially check the child. 
  • If live bugs are found, the parents will be contacted and the student will be sent home. 
  • If nits (eggs) are found, the parent will be notified and the student will return to class unless otherwise requested by the parent/guardian.
  • Whole school communication will occur if there's a systemic concern. The specific grade level will not be indicated in order to protect confidentiality.

  • 1. Avoid sharing head-touching items

    To reduce the chance of you or your child catching a case of head lice, start by not sharing items that touch the head.
    It may be tempting to share personal belongings, especially for kids, but lice can crawl from an object to your head. Avoid sharing:
    • combs and brushes
    • hair clips and accessories
    • hats and bike helmets
    • scarves and coats
    • towels
    • headsets and earbuds

    2. Minimize head-to-head contact

    When kids play, they may naturally place their heads close together. But if your child’s friend has head lice, your young one may come home with it.
    Ask your child to avoid games and activities that lead to head-to-head contact with classmates and other friends. Adults, especially those who work with children, would be wise to follow the same principle. THIS INCLUDES TAKING SELFIES.
    Put long hair in a ponytail, braid, or bun.  A small amount of hair spray may help contain stray hair.

    For more information visit:

    Wednesday, September 12, 2018

    Field Trip Chaperoning Sign Ups

    Field trips are often the highlight of the school year for many families. 8th grade has some incredible trips lined up that will broaden horizons, connect to our curriculum, and spark conversations at home.

    Parent chaperones are essential for the safety of our students. Most chaperones find the trips to be as educational for them as they are for the students! When signing up to chaperone, please take into consideration the following things:

    1. I will not place your own student in your group. Students participate more fully and take bigger risks when they are not with mom or dad.

    2. I expect all volunteers to fully participate in our activities. This means being out on the ice for curling, rowing the dragon boats, eating with chopsticks, etc. If you are unsure of the requirements for a trip, I'm happy to answer questions.

    3. I need all parents to arrive and depart on the bus with it. Our main duty is to help ensure safety. This includes on the bus.

    Taking that all in to consideration, I do hope you'll join us for one more more trips this year! Follow the following link to sign up:

    Monday, September 10, 2018

    Fall Conference Sign Ups

    We believe strongly in the value of open communication between parents and school. While parents and students are more than welcome to schedule a meeting with me anytime, our first formal conferences are on October 26th and November 2rd. You may sign up for a conference time at the link below.