Monthly Archives: May 2013

Summer 2013: Time To Sharpen The Saw!


Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–YOU. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. As you renew yourself in each of the four areas, you create growth and change in your life. Sharpen the Saw keeps you fresh so you can continue to practice the other six habits. You increase your capacity to produce and handle the challenges around you. “Give me six hours to cut down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”  ~Abraham Lincoln


  • I would like to thank you all for your help, cooperation, and hard work throughout this year. You have worked hard to help our student leaders learn and succeed .  We are appreciated and highly valued. Now it’s your turn to step back a little, make plans with your family and friends and enjoy a little time away  from the high demands of our complicated and numerous educational endeavors.  They’ll be waiting for you when you return for the fall season. THANK YOU…….for everything.  Lunch will be provided for you throughout lunches today, Tuesday, May 28th, in the  MPR.  Enjoy!!!!!!

  • NO  BACKPACKS are permitted during these final days of school. All personnel are requested to walk our children to the bus ramp on these days to minimize any problems.
  • Vision Day will be May 30, 2013 from 8:00 – 4:00 pm (workday schedule).  You will sign in at MPR. Lunch will be on your own. We have a tight schedule so plan accordingly.
  • Our first round of FCAT 2.0 Scores are in… Our percent of student obtaining a 3.5 on FCAT Writes is 49%. 2013 School grades will be determined based on the 3.5 standard for writing.   This means  SSMS as well as all other schools will have a decline in this area from last year when the 3.0 standard was used in calculating school grades.  We look now to our students performance in Reading, Math, Science, Algebra and Geometry  so that we can make up the points lost in writing. Hats off to our 8th grade LA teachers and their hard work and dedication to our students. They accept the 2014 FCAT Writes challenge.. They have already begun looking at data, and will begin planning June 11simply demonstrating  what truly Highly Effective Teachers do!
  • End of Year Checklist items were mailed last week and are attached below:

SUMMER SHUTDOWN CHECKLIST  Custodial Classroom Repair Request  End of Year Checklist 12-13

  • Your Curriculum Area Trainings will be posted in EIS by Wednesday, May 29, 2013 afternoon.  Be sure to sign up so that you can receive your Stipend and Points. EIS trainings sign up: ESE,READING, MAGNET, PRE-IB, SCIENCE, MATH, LA, SS, DISCIPLINE/PBS
  • Hurricanes attending Educational Professional Development Trainings this Summer:  Professional Learning Communities That Works: Kiefer, Rincon, Bess, Coleman-Baker;  Common Core Trainings: Carver, Kiefer, Rincon, Hernandez, Hendry,  Ciocca, Bess, Coleman-Baker, Colter, Reiss, Navarro & McEvoy;   Kagan Summer Academy: Coleman-Baker, Kiefer, Adamowicz, Morris, Pearson & King,L; Marzano Conference: Pettry, New, Bess, Ciocca, Coleman-Baker &  Hernandez
  • Year in Review:  What is a scale? A scale is a continuum that identifies progressive levels of student knowledge and skills connected to a specific learning goal. It serves as a tool to inform instruction and provide formative feedback to students.What needs to be done about learning goals? Research reveals a core of effective practices that, when done correctly and in appropriate circumstances, have a high probability of a very positive impact on student learning. The effective use of Learning Goals is one of the most important. Check out the attachments for directions for 2013 – 2014.:

Learning Goals overview FSL version2013    Scale Implementation 2013-14 Guidelines FINAL(13)  

  • Your Annual Assessment must be completed and electronically signed by you before you leave for the year or on May 31st, whichever comes first.
  • Look out SSMS CIOCCA is LooseCampus Magnetization Days July 22-24... Stay Tuned for more info from Ms. Ciocca.


1 Comment

Posted by on 05/27/2013 in LEAD21- SERIES1




“Synergy is better than my way or your way. It’s our way.”

Covey states that in any conflict, the 1st Alternative is my way, and the 2nd Alternative is your way. The usual outcomes are either a war or a compromise. Compromise stops the fight — but without breaking through to amazing new results. A 3rd Alternative is that kind of breakthrough. 3rd Alternative thinking doesn’t just resolve a conflict, it transforms the conflict. It’s not about putting Band-Aids on the old reality, it’s about creating a new reality. With a compromise we all lose something, but with a 3rd Alternative we all win. “We arrive at the 3rd Alternative through a process called SYNERGY” Stephen Covey says. “Synergy is what happens when one plus one equals ten or a hundred or even a thousand! It’s the profound result when two or more respectful human beings determine to go beyond their preconceived ideas to meet a great challenge.”

Hello Hurricanes

  • Faculty Meeting, May 22, 2013 at 8:30 am in the Media CenterTopic- Recognizing our 2013 Retirees & Closing out 2012-2013.
  • Dr. Dehlinger will be visiting our campus on Monday, May 20, 2013.. Shine as always SSMS!

  • All student assignments that will be used to calculate the 4th quarter grade have a due date of no later than 05/29/13……the students last day. Assignment grades MUST be entered by MIDNIGHT on 05/29/13 !! This is an extremely tight turn-around time for information and is due to the fact that the the Leadership Team needs to review and prepare for summer school and analyze the data and disseminate information on grades and retentions. This information will be utilized on Thursday (05/30/13) when the parents of students eligible to attend High School Summer School are contacted. High School Summer School begins on Monday, 06/03/13. Remember, you may enter grades into your gradebook at anytime. Please do not wait until the last minute.
  • Vision Day will be May 30, 2013 from 8:00 – 4:00 (workday hours).  Lunch will be on your own. Look out 2013-2014
  • Vision Night with our parents will be held May 29, 2013 from 5 pm – 8pm.  If you are interested in volunteering email  Ms. Ciocca your availability.
  • SSMS enters the FINAL FOUR. Below is a synopsis of the exam schedule for the last 4 days of school, contact Ms. Taylor for any further clarifications or conflicts : 
Thursday, May 23rd – 9 weeks Exams 7th Period at 9:20
Friday, May 24th – 9 weeks Exams Periods 1 & 4
Tuesday, May 28th – 9 weeks Exams Periods 3 & 5
Wednesday, May 29th- 9 weeks Exams Periods 2 & 6
A detailed Schedule can be seen below and on the The Hurricane Weekly
  • Moving Day is fast approaching. The first round will begin on May 24th.  If you need any additional boxes, tape, etc.   or have questions, contact Mr. Grace.

  • How teachers can work now to improve for next year? Teachers can use this time near the end of the school year to reflect on how they can improve their teaching for next year, writes Richard Curwin, director of the graduate program in behavior disorder at David Yellin College. In this blog post, he suggests that teachers be ready to change, prepare lists to help guide the process, ask students to write essays with feedback and ask students to role play as if they are the Curwin’s blog

Have a Great Week Hurricanes!!!!

1 Comment

Posted by on 05/19/2013 in LEAD21- SERIES1



stephen covey

Change, choice and principles give you the power to achieve your dreams.
You can change your life, if you align your choices with the timeless principles that produce success.
With the weapons of change, choice and principles, impossibilities become possibilities.
  • On Friday, May 10, 2013, you received your teaching and classroom assignment for the 2013-2014 school year. You additionally received a designated day for your items to be moved to your new location.   Here is a synopsis of the “moving preparations” provided by Mr. Grace, the labels referenced will be provided in your boxes along with a hard copy of moving protocol.


  • “Notice of Reappointment” and “Annual Contract of Employment” forms are being placed in the mailbox of renewed “AC” employees [teachers & administrators] and “AE” support personnel on Monday afternoon. These employees are requested to “sign & date” all forms and return them to Laura Richards  on Tuesday, 05/14/13.
  • Here’s a good article on the “Faces of Poverty”….some of the descriptions could easily apply to our county. With so many families facing reduced economic circumstances, educators are retooling their responses to poverty. In this issue of ASCD Express and the May issue of Educational Leadership, they discuss policies, brain science, early learning, and socio-cultural interventions for students who experience poverty. Take a few minutes and read the information that interests you.

  • The Leadership Team needs to finish up and complete  the annual assessments. In order  to do so in a timely and complete fashion you need to make sure that you complete your  4th quarter Deliberate Practice Reflections by the end of the day on Monday, 05/17/13. This will be greatly appreciated
  • As we enter the final weeks of 2012-2013 make every effort to be at your designated supervision duty area and hallway duty throughout the day.  If a student needs to be removed from class, call Ms. Leenen, discipline secretary, and someone will come to your room.  Do not send students to discipline office.
  • Clinic traffic:  Ms. Benitez is seeing approximately 50 – 100 students per day in the clinic.  Please use discretion when sending students to the clinic. 
  • SCPS major emphasis for the coming school year [August 2013] will focus on the Common Core State Standards [CCSS].  In preparation for this, there is an opportunity for five (5) teachers ,ONLY, from our school to attend the June 12 and 13, 2013  Common Core Teacher Leader Conference that is being held at Hagerty High in Oviedo.   We currently have 3 participants from SSMS:  Marcy Colter, Lexa Hernandez & Crystal McEvoy.  We have two spots left. In order for us to properly plan for this conference, please e-mail me your name no later than Monday, May 13th .   If these available slots are not staffed with SSMS participants the unfilled positions will default to other schools who are requesting to send additional teachers.

    Have a Great Week Hurricanes



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Posted by on 05/12/2013 in LEAD21- SERIES1




“What if everybody participated to create a vision and purpose and worked together to create it over a period of time to where they really owned it — they felt it — this is our vision —we share it together” ~Stephen Covey


  • After years of service to South Seminole Middle School, Mr. Sowden will be retiring at the end of the yearLOOK OUT FISH….We wish Bruce a Happy Retirement!  
  • Assistant Principal moves were announced on Friday, May 3, 2013.  South Seminole Middle School’s New Assistant Principal will be Brendan Bess transferring from Millennium Middle School. WELCOME MR. BESS!  Mr. Bess will be attending our Vision Day on May 30, 2013, so you will have the opportunity to meet him prior to the end of the year.
  • “I touch the future I teach” ~ Christie McAuliffe.  Happy Teachers Appreciation Week.  A+ Teachers know that teaching involves more than just delivering lessons. It’s about balance – the balance between the “Art and Science” of teaching and the building of relationships with our students. Hats off to the SSMS staff this year! Enjoy the treats that are planned for you this week. An overview of events will be listed on the Hurricane Weekly Tab.
  • On May 10,  your teaching and room assignments for the 2013-2014 school year, will be provided by the Assistant Principals.  Assistance will be provided for teachers who have been reassigned to a new room. We  will be moving forward with the former model of grade level floors for 2013-2014 school year,  for the following reasons: a) to alleviate and/or cut down on potential “bullying” opportunities,  b) to identify students who are not in designated area, c) to create grade level testing zones, and d) to cluster Curriculum PLCs to showcase thematic units… to highlight a few… all of which are in the best interest of the kids, teachers and the learning environment at SSMS.  Ms. Taylor is securing Dividends to assist with the moves during the early release days in the afternoon, only your boxes will be moved.. you will maintain instruction/testing in your current classroom until May 29th, so that everything is in place on the teacher work days at the end of the year, and you will be able to use that time to get organized. The moving logistics will be provided by Mr. Grace. Hopefully this will relieve a lot of tension and help you get the next school year off to a great start. Additionally, the Deans  and School Resource Officer will be housed in Building 3 next year for added support and supervision.  
  • Mark these important schedule dates on your calendar for the End of the Year…..all assignments that will be used to calculate the 4th  quarter grade have a due date of no later than Wednesday, 05/29/13……the students’ last day. Assignment grades MUST be entered by MIDNIGHT on 05/29/13 !!  This is an extremely tight turn-around time for information  and is due to the fact that the administration needs to review and prepare for summer school and analyze the data and disseminate information on grades and retention. This information will be utilized on Thursday (05/30/13) when the parents of students eligible to attend High School Summer School are contacted.High School Summer School begins on Monday, 06/03/13. Remember, you may enter grades into your gradebook at  anytime. Please do not wait until the last-minute
  • Below you will find our Happy New Year Presentation from out faculty meeting on  May 1, 2013!  Let’s do this Hurricanes!!!

Happy New Year-SSMS13-14

  • Just a reminder that I will be attending the Magnet Schools of America conference on  May 6 – 8, 2013.  See you Thursday. I will be available via email.
  • The Common Core Educator Conference will be held on June 12 – June 13 from 8:30 – 3:30 at Hagerty High School.  There are 5 teacher spots available.  If you are interested in attending email me your name by Wednesday, May 8, 2013.

Have a Great Week Hurricanes


Posted by on 05/04/2013 in LEAD21- SERIES1