Parent Coffee Feb 22, 2018

Thank you all for joining last weeks parents coffee. The topic of empathy and kindness are always going to be paramount on my mind as MS counselor as it is such an important part of development throughout the MS years.

Below is the presentation but I will be posting more info including websites referenced in the presentation.

Additionally, as a continued response to online behavior unsupportive our school’s mission, the counseling team took some time to deliver a lesson on bullying and cyberbullying. Below is the presentation that we used.

Of course, the conversation with students and parents regarding how we commit to our mission, both on and offline, is something that I am interested in continuing. One lesson that we have been discussing comes directly from and is one worth sharing with parents. Click here 6-8-unit3-cyberbullyingcrossingtheline for this lesson in order to continue the conversations at home.

HS Course Requests

Thank you for coming last night for our 1st parent session regarding HS course selection. Please find below the presentation from last night’s session.

To summarize the main points, the current selection of courses is restricted to electives. The selection has to be for two semesters worth of elective choices (0.5 + 0.5 = 1 full elective) which could be a 1-year elective or two, semester electives.
Thinking about Middle School this is similar to your child taking Photography (0.5) and Ceramics (0.5) versus taking Strings, which is a full year of credit.
What is important to know is that graduation requirements dictate that your child is required to have 1.5 credits of Fine Arts, while computer science electives are not required but contribute to the overall 5.5 general electives that are required.
Regarding the 5.5 credits of general electives that are needed, please know that once credit requirements are met for a given department, your child may continue to take classes in that department but the course credit goes to the general elective requirements. For example, there are 1.5 credits of PE that are required for graduation. While this amounts to 3 semesters of PE classes if your child is able to take additional PE classes the credits are counted towards the general elective credit requirement as the 1.5 credits have already been met.

Click on the Course Catalog below, which contains course descriptions, grad requirements, etc. to download the PDF.

Motivation Through the MS Years

Thank you all for coming to our sixth Parent Coffee of the year.
Student motivation is a massive topic and can encompass many different frameworks and philosophies. While there is lot’s of research that discusses motivation, it seems very difficult to measure therefore even more difficult to make direct correlations between motivation and outcomes. Even more difficult is to know how exactly to motivate your young teenager.

As you know from previous Parent Coffee topics a great first step is asking questions to your son/daughter. Asking “why” questions always runs the risk of being met with a frustrated teen, but making communication as consistent, supportive, and non-judgmental, will always serve your family.

Article from the economist titled “Teenagers are Better Behaved…”
I think that this is a fascinating article that seemingly tells a story of how children are spending less time engaging in negative and risky behavior, but also examines what the reasons (and motivations might be) regarding these changes in behavior.

Additionally here is the link to the handout that was on the table during the presentation on factors on motivation.

Executive Function in the Middle School Years

Thank you to everyone for coming to our Parent Coffee to discuss what executive function, or executive skills, are and how they develop/fluctuate through the MS years. 

As I prepared for this presentation I was very please to find some of the research presented by Dr. Zelazo who asserts that increases in frontal lobe activity (which can be correlated to growth in the frontal lobe which occurs during puberty) can have a negative impact on executive skills. As he says in the article linked below, “…more is not always better; sometimes too much communication can create confusion (just as too many chefs can spoil potentially good broth), and fewer synapses may be associated with more streamlined and more efficient communication among neurons.”

Click here for the 4 part series on executive function.

Here is the presentation if you would like to review it. As always, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me. If you have any suggestions for future parent coffee topics you can share them using this form.


171117 Parent Coffee – Executive Function

Mindset, as examined by Yale researchers


This is a very engaging talk and while it is not specifically about children Dr. Crum does sight the work of Carol Dweck regarding Growth Mindset in schools. Changing our mindset regarding intelligence and learning from something that is fixed to something that is malleable and influenced by our mindset.

As Dr. Crum contends, we are just beginning to discover the power that mindset has in the way that we respond to learning, stress and even aging.

Our mindsets matter!

Parent Coffee Sept. 31, 2017

Click here for Parent Survey 
Thank you very much for your time and attention

Upcoming Parents Events
Sept. 14th / WoW Parent Coffee
Sept. 27th -29th / Parent Teacher Conferences
Nov. 16th / Parent Coffee w/ Counselors
For a complete view of upcoming parent events please consult the Master Calendar and look at weekly Tiger Tales.

Additional Resources

Concerns about back to school

Discussing Violence in Media 

Discussing News and Media 

Calculator Recommendation for HS

As per the Course Catalog, all students in an Integrated Math class in the high school are required to have their own graphing calculator for use in class and on homework. If families would like to purchase these while traveling during the summer, they should follow these guidelines.

RECOMMENDED for IM (Integrated Math) courses:

TI-nspire CX  (Be certain that it is NOT the CAS version as this version is not allowed for use on IB examinations.)

These will be for sale in the AES store in August, but are cheaper if purchased in the US at about $125.

Also acceptable:

TI-84 Plus (or TI-84 Plus c  or  TI-84 Plus Silver Edition)  For students who already have a TI-84, this model is also suitable for the IM courses. A limited number will be available in the AES store in August.



Transition info Repost

This is a repost of some of the information shared regarding transition to HS. 

Today in Advisory, course selection forms went have been handed out. Starting to fill out these forms now provides our HS with the necessary information to start developing their master schedule (the same process is true in the MS)

In order to assist you with the process please find the HS Course Catalog below:

Course Catalog 17-18

Additionally here is the presentation given by our HS counselor on February 14th.

Grade 8 Parent Night 2017

Below are some frequently asked questions that may provide some clarification.

If you have questions that you would like answered please fill out the google form HERE

  1. I’m currently enrolled in MS as an EAL student. Does that mean I should select EAL on my course selection form?

While it is general practice for students enrolled in EAL Humanities (EAL 1 Support) to continue in the EAL program in HS, placement will be determined later in the school year by your child’s EAL teacher, by looking at a number of different assessments. The HS Counselor will meet with the EAL teachers later in the spring to make these decisions. As enrollment in EAL class takes the place of enrollment in a World Language we would ask that your child select the World Language choice that they would like to take if they were not recommended to continue on with an EAL class. Their placement will be communicated with home in the spring.

2. I see Dance in two places. Why is that? Can I take two semesters of CPE (comprehensive physical education) and Dance?

Dance can be considered a PE elective or a Fine Arts elective but not both. This means that to complete your CPE requirements you can take two semesters of Dance (or one semester of Dance and one of CPE) but if you want your Physical Education credits to be fulfilled with two semesters of CPE then enrolling in Dance will be a credit (0.5 credits / semester) towards your fine arts electives.

3. I’m currently in Math 8. What do I sign up for regarding a Math course?

It is important to know that Math 8 and Integrated Math I (IM I) involve similar content and are both considered a prerequisite credit for Integrated Math II (IM II). The typical track from Gr. 8 Math is IM II but in some cases MS teachers will recommend that a student in Gr. 8 Math take IM I when they enter HS in order to review further increase their foundational understanding of key concepts. While this recommendation is made to support students as they continue to develop their understanding it does have implications future courses that they will be able to take and should be discussed with their HS counselor.

Please refer to page 30 in the HS Course Catalog for more information regarding the HS Math Sequence.

4. Do I need to get teacher’s signatures in the places that it says “teacher agrees / teacher disagrees”?

No. These grey areas on your child’s course selection form are to be completed by your child’s teachers and counselor at a later date. The HS Counselors will complete a process where all student’s course placement sheets are reviewed. It is at that time that teachers will discuss any recommendations that do not align with the courses selected by your child.

17/18 Peer Facilitators Applications

Peer Facilitators will function to facilitate several different school activities such as Leadership Seminars and Orientation but also have a large contribution to the AES steering committees. Becoming a Peer facilitator will also put you in a position where you will be asked to assist with student matters, planning of events and presenting to various audiences.
The time commitment will require you to meet with the PF group twice monthly, and also attend all Leadership Seminars, functions where you act as a school ambassador (ie. Back to school night, orientation). If you frequently take trips, travel with sports or miss school for any other reason, you may not be able to commit the appropriate amount of time. Please consider this before you apply.

Please apply to be a part of the Peer Facilitators Student Leadership program by filling out the online application form here.