Middle School Party: Friday, November 22nd
Renee Chaudoin

The first Middle School Party of the year will take place next Friday, November 22nd! The doors will open at 6:00 PM and the party will end at 9:00. The price of admission to the event is $5. Students who wish to bring guests must return completed guest forms by Thursday, November 21st (forms are available outside Mr. Brown's classroom). All guests must be in 5th-8th grade. Student Council will be providing beverages. There is no formal required dress code for the party. 

If there are any questions, please feel free to contact Mr. Brown!

Middle School Out of Uniform - Friday, November 22nd
Middle school Student Council Executive Board

Middle School Student Announcement

We are very excited to announce a dress down day for the Middle School next Friday, November 22nd! There is no specific theme for this dress down day.

Out of uniform day, guidelines are found on the St. Anne's website. If your student is unsure about whether or not they may wear something, they can ask Mr. Brown, Mrs. Reilly, or one of the Student Council Executive Board members.

Student Council Exec. Board

Spanish Class Can Start Middle Schoolers on a Path to Success
Marcela Caro, 6th to 8th Grade Spanish Teacher
Marcela Caro - 6th, 7th, & 8th-Grade Spanish Teacher,
Coordinator of Latin American Studies, 
8th-grade Advisor

Coming from higher education, I talked to thousands of college students who were trying to figure out the type of career they wanted after graduation and how to achieve it. I learned that companies who were recruiting recent graduates were looking for specific skills not yet developed. Multicultural competency, living or working abroad, speaking a second language, teamwork, leadership, empathy, and adaptability were a few of those skills. In my conversations, I also found that many students had never traveled outside the country before entering college, and few had meaningful connections with cultures other than their own. 

This drew me to change careers and work at a school where I could bring the international world to the classroom and help students develop the skills needed to be successful world citizens. At St. Anne’s, we are preparing students to develop these skills before college. As an example, this Spring we will be providing an opportunity for students to experience a cultural tour to Costa Rica and visit San Jose, the Arenales, hot springs, local markets, and traditional restaurants as well as a turtle conservation site, a volcano, a coffee farm, and a school. One of the best parts of this tour is that students will be speaking Spanish with locals. In the future, we are looking to expand our tour trips so that students will have the chance to learn about and experience other cultures.

To reach my goal of bringing the international world to the classroom during my Spanish classes, I incorporate teamwork, language skills, geography skills, and communication skills as well as intercultural communication, critical thinking skills, art, music, and humor into a holistic package. In the first eight weeks of school, students have learned about all 21 Spanish speaking countries, their geography, location, population, famous people, culture, and traditions. We have read poetry and listened to traditional Spanish music to connect with the language and culture. We have played “Duelo de familias” which is a replica of the famous TV show, “Family Feud” where two teams compete to answer questions in order to reinforce their speaking skills, develop teamwork, and win participation points.

New at St. Anne’s this year, the 7th and 8th graders will have the opportunity to visit the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Students will take a tour, attend a briefing with a diplomat and learn the history and mission of the United Nations. The tour includes a visit to the famous General Assembly Hall, Security Council Chamber, The UN Bookstore and Postoffice. Students can get their passport stamped for free while they are in a sovereign territory. Also, we founded The MS Spanish club, which allows students to meet once a week and share the Spanish language and culture beyond the classroom. Throughout the rest of the school year, students will take dance lessons, cook a traditional Spanish recipe, read Spanish novels and perform theater in Spanish! There is so much to learn and experience. 

Over 37 million Americans speak Spanish making the second-most used language in the country. By 2050, Spanish will become the second most spoken language in the world.  The language skills, multicultural competency, and international knowledge that they learn now will serve your children well beyond their years at St. Anne’s. This is why I am so passionate about teaching Spanish and look forward to watching all my students continue to learn and grow.

Robotics in the 5th Grade Classroom
Sarah Shpak, 5th-6th Grade STEM Teacher

Sarah Shpak, 5th-6th Grade STEM Teacher

“How can automation and robotics be used to protect the Earth’s resources and the environment?” This is the challenge that the curriculum of Project Lead the Way (PLTW) asks 5th graders to consider. Attempting to answer this encourages students to reinvent their understanding of technology and its place in the world, while realizing their potential for being good citizens of the community, just as the St. Anne’s mission states.

PLTW teaches students that robotics is much more than metal and wires. Robotics is about problem-solving; robotics is about working smarter, not harder. Robotics education asks students to look at the world differently, as an engineer does. It makes them ask questions about cause and effect, which are inputs and outputs. It challenges them to understand goals and limitations, which are known as constraints. Throughout the PLTW curriculum, students also learn small lessons and then build upon each one. They make a simple robot that turns a motor when a button is pushed. Then, expanding further with inputs and outputs, the robot is able to move, react to color, and perform other tasks. 

My favorite lesson is when students are tasked to construct a model of a new toy. The classroom is transformed into a toy-manufacturing workshop. In teams of two, students consider the requirements of the task — each toy must include one moving part. They work to balance the constraints — the creation must be finished within two class periods and only using limited resources. In the end, toys such as “Dakota the Dog”, “Magnetic Man”, and the “Flying Mobile” were proudly created. What does this have to do with robotics, you might ask? Understanding the process of manufacturing, thinking creatively, and overcoming limitations are the steps that robotic scientists encounter daily. 

At St. Anne’s, we foster lifelong learning, and by providing students the opportunity to be challenged with robotics, students not only experience an evolving field first hand but also practice problem-solving and critical-thinking skills which are important for future success. You never know who will become the next great toy designer; perhaps it will be one of our very own St. Anne’s Herons!

Heron Proud
Jill Reilly, Middle School Head

Recently, Kayley Rivera - Class of 2022 - offered me a piece of her artwork. I was honored and inspired by both her kind gesture and the message of her work. I also appreciated her willingness to share her gifts and talents. 

There were so many things I liked about the drawing. The title, "Be Heron Proud"  made me smile. Mr. Barry Davis has been signing many of his community messages with #heronproud, and it's also a popular hashtag for St. Anne's folks on Facebook and Instagram.  Also, blue and green have always been my favorite colors, and I especially liked that Kayley included our three core values in her piece: Respect, Responsibility, and Compassion. These are the values that anchor all that we do at St. Anne's. 

After receiving Kayley's beautiful artwork, I was curious about several things, including what motivated her and why she felt comfortable sharing. While I have gotten to know Kayley since I arrived at St. Anne's three years ago, I relish opportunities to deepen my understanding of our students. This was a perfect chance to learn more about her. Additionally, I've gotten some of my best ideas from students who share their ideas, suggestions, and dreams. Virtually every time, they share something that is important to them.  I hope you'll enjoy reading her responses. 

Mrs. Reilly: What was your motivation for making and sharing the sign with me?

Kayley: My motivation was that I was looking for something to do for an art project. I decided to share it with you because I thought it might be a nice piece of artwork to add to the middle school office. 

Mrs. Reilly: If you feel like you are known here as St. Anne's, what actions, words, thoughts of teachers, students, leaders, etc. show you that you are known? 

Kayley: I feel like I am known because I feel like I am making an impact on all of the leadership opportunities. All of my teachers often give personal work advice to improve my grades or work. I also feel I am known because all of the students in the Middle School know my name. And in return, I know all of theirs.

Mrs. Reilly: What would you want me to know that I haven't asked yet? 

Kayley: I would like you to know I really appreciate all of the accommodations you are always willing to make for my needs and my father's needs [like having an American Sign Language interpreter at major school events]. 

Thank you, Kayley, for sharing not only your artistic talents and artwork with us but also for sharing your thoughts and insights.

Heron Proud