Dear Middle School Families,
Each week I ask our faculty to send me any announcements or invitations that they would like included in my weekly blog, In the Middle. This week I received a quick update from our computer programming teacher, Jim Partridge, who asked that I share an invitation to Girls Who Code.
Upper School Student, Anoushka Bose, and Computer Programming teacher, Jim Partridge held the first Girls Who Code meeting earlier this week. Girls Who Code is a national organization that encourages girls in 6th through 12th grade to learn how to program and use these skills to create projects that have significant impact on their communities.
The note from Mr. Partridge reminded me of a discussion with our Head of School, Kevin Yaley, just over a year ago. At that time we were discussing the success of our 8th grade programming class taught by Mr. Partridge. During a wide ranging conversation, the concept of our Digital Foundations class was born, and this year we are proud that every sixth grade student at Parker will have, at the very least, an introduction to the skills involved in programming and the opportunity to study it formally in the Middle School and on into the Upper School.
In addition to Mr. Partridge’s note, an interesting article landed in my email inbox this week: Got Code? The article holds many opinions and while I do not agree with all of them, they caused me to think, and at least one jumped out as very significant to our work at Parker: Computational Thinking. Below is an excerpt:
SO WHAT IS COMPUTATIONAL THINKING? If you've ever improvised dinner, pat yourself on the back: You've engaged in some light CT.
There are those who open the pantry to find a dusty bag of legumes and some sad-looking onions and think, "Lentil soup!" and those who think, "Chinese takeout." A practiced home cook can mentally sketch the path from raw ingredients to a hot meal, imagining how to substitute, divide, merge, apply external processes (heat, stirring), and so on until she achieves her end. Where the rest of us see a dead end, she sees the potential for something new.
If seeing the culinary potential in raw ingredients is like computational thinking, you might think of a software algorithm as a kind of recipe: a step-by-step guide on how to take a bunch of random ingredients and start layering them together in certain quantities, for certain amounts of time, until they produce the outcome you had in mind.
Much like cooking, computational thinking begins with a feat of imagination, the ability to envision how digitized information—ticket sales, customer addresses, the temperature in your fridge, the sequence of events to start a car engine, anything that can be sorted, counted, or tracked—could be combined and changed into something new by applying various computational techniques. From there, it's all about "decomposing" big tasks into a logical series of smaller steps, just like a recipe.
Fun facts regarding the origin of the term “bug” and “programmer” can be found in the full article found here.
2014-2015 is inaugural year for Girls that Code here at Parker. Grade 6 through 12 meetings are Tuesdays, from 3:15 - 5:00 in Upper School Room 206. Members are encouraged to stay the whole time; however the last half of the meeting is dedicated to lab project time so there is some built in flexibility.
Thank you for checking out all we do here “in the Middle.”
10/9 - ASB Elections
10/10 - NetClassroom closed while Arts, Innovation and Design comments are written.
10/10 - Fall Break - with no school on Friday, the week of October 5 will follow the Short Week Schedule - Friday Holiday
10/13 - Fall Break - with no school on Monday, the week of October 12 will follow the Short Week Schedule - Monday Holiday
10/14 - 10/18 - Spirit Week and Homecoming
10/18 - Homecoming - Middle School Football starts the day at 9:15
Links to Schedules...
MS Schedule - Regular Week
Short Week Schedule - Monday Holiday
Short Week Schedule - Friday Holiday
Students please note that videogames are not allowed from 7:45a.m. to 3:15 p.m. In the morning, we need your brain warming up for a busy day of “feasting at the banquet of learning” (quote credit to Mr. McGrath). Video games are definitely not allowed at any time during class, advisory or even if you have a substitute who is unaware of our rule. After school, we encourage you to run around, check out a ball from the Middle School office, get extra help from a teacher, and finish up your homework. After fair warning, students who continue to play games will have their iPads “locked” from game play by our technology department.
The sixth grade drama class will be performing their monologues during class on Thursday at 8:05 am (D block).
Notes from Nurse Maggie...
Just a reminder about Parker’s medication policy which states, “California Education Code Section 49423 allows a Registered Nurse or other designated (by administration) staff member to assist students who are required to take medication during the school day. This service is provided to enable the student to remain in school, or to maintain or improve his/her potential for education and learning.” Please note that:
Medication, including over the counter medication, must be kept in the health center or in the division-specified school office.
If a student requires prescription medication that will be taken at school, the medication must be provided by the parent in the original prescription bottle with the child’s name, medication name, dosage, directions for administering the medication and the route.
There are specific forms that must be completed by parents and student’s primary health care provider allowing school staff to administer prescription medications while on campus. Please contact Nurse Maggie or staff in your division office for a copy of these forms.
Students who have life-threatening health conditions, such as asthma, anaphylaxis and diabetes, are allowed to carry medication for those conditions on their person with parent/guardian approval. Please let the nurse know if your student is carrying medication for these conditions. We also ask that “back-up” medication be kept in the designated school office in case of emergency.
All other medications, including over the counter medications, must be administered in your student’s designated health center.
If you send in over the counter medication for your student to receive during the school day, please send it in the original container with a signed note stating your student’s name, the medication needed, the dose and the time you’d like that medication administered to your student. Please also let us know if you’d like us to keep the medication or send it home with your student.
Under no condition is a student to self-administer medications, have medication with them without the school’s knowledge or share any kind of medication with other students.
Questions? Please email me at email@example.com or call 619-717-0235.
There is Drama Club Parent Information Meeting on Thursday, Oct.9 at 4:45 pm in the PAC.
7th Grade Parent Volunteer Opportunity...
As part of the Seventh Grade focus on Community Awareness, the seventh grade class will be participating in community service field trips on Wednesday, October 29. In order to make these meaningful experiences successful, we would like to solicit some parent volunteers. Volunteers will be needed from 9:30am to 12pm on October 29th. Volunteers will be assisting the 7th grade faculty at one of the following Community service organizations:
If you are available to help chaperone one of these events please email Binh Ngo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Please note that the County Ed. parking lot is not available for Parker to use as overflow parking on October 18th.
Parker will have parking available at the University of San Diego. Please enter at the intersection of Linda Vista Road and Marian Way and park in the West Parking Structure. Located north of Alcala Park West, the structure is entered off of lower Marian Way. The structure provides inside parking for 775 cars. Immediately outside the structure is surface parking for an additional 335 vehicles.
Parker will provide shuttle service to and from USD from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (or later, if people are still on campus).