John Glenn Middle School Blog

Dear Students and Families:

Welcome to the 2014 – 2015 school year! Our commitment at John Glenn Middle School is to provide a safe, positive, intellectual learning environment that will empower students to become creative problem solvers, critical thinkers, and inspired learners prepared for high school, college, and life in the twenty-first century.

The critical impetus helping us achieve this task is the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme.  I am proud of what our teachers have accomplished and continue to be astonished at how much our students can achieve when given the opportunity to demonstrate creativity, innovation and thoughtful problem-solving. Our embrace of the Middle Years Programme (MYP) has prepared us to effectively implement the Common Core State Standards in all subjects. Because the MYP emphasizes conceptual understanding, deep thinking and development of skills, our school has easily struck alignment between the two programs.  

In addition to academic programs, we recognize the need to develop the whole child.  As middle school is a time of physical and emotional change for students, we are committed to provide high levels of social and emotional support. Our teachers model the Learner Profile attributes and emphasize them through the curriculum so students may themselves develop positive personal and character attributes. Our counselors are on hand daily and offer individual and group services to meet our students' needs.

The success of John Glenn Middle School of International Studies would not be possible without the ongoing work of our teachers, as well as the support we receive from our parents and surrounding community. Our partnership is essential for our continued success.

I am excited for the opportunity to work with you and your student to provide a productive and safe learning environment that supports student success. Once again, welcome to John Glenn Middle School!

Redhawks, we are ready, respectful and we reach out!



A New Foundation for Student Success

What are The Common Core Standards? 


For decades, we've been debating how to improve schools in the United States. This has been born from a realization that, in an ever-changing world, our students need better knowledge and tools to prepare them to compete in the global economy.

In math, science, and reading, our students haven't been keeping pace with their most advanced international peers. Persistent and dramatic achievement gaps still exist in our country. College remediation rates are abysmal. And, employers say students are unprepared to perform and thrive in the workforce.

The need to audaciously confront these issues resulted in a remarkable collaborative effort-the promise of consistent, shared, and rigorous education standards for all students that align with college and work expectations -a new set of ambitious academic standards to set the foundation for even greater student growth and success.

These standards, now being implemented by more than forty-four states across the nation, were built upon strengths and lessons learned in states. They were informed by other top performing countries, and grounded in research and evidence.

Practitioners, content experts, teachers, researchers, and leaders in higher education and business all came together to make it happen.

These new Standards were developed by states and for states. They are the clearest statements yet about the knowledge and skills that students need to master in order to be prepared for college and the workforce.

The Standards were designed with great care to ensure that they were clear, consistent, rigorous, and relevant. All are undeniably important when it comes to preparing students to successfully meet the demands of college and the workplace.

Thanks to the unprecedented collaboration among states, young people-regardless of their background or where they live-will be taught to standards that once mastered, will have prepared them for college and career success. 



Transitioning to the CCSS: What Parents and Guardians Can Do Now

Parents and guardians are crucial partners in laying the groundwork for a smooth transition to the new standards. Parents and guardians can:


  • Learn about the CCSS and the district's transition plan. 
  • Talk to the principal about the school's plans for the transition to learn what will be different about these new standards and what will remain the same for children. 
  • Attend a board and/or community meeting to discuss district goals and timelines. 
  • Meet with your child's teacher to discuss what your child will be learning over the coming year and how classroom instruction will shift to align to the CCSS.
  • Play an active role in your child's education at home. If you notice your child is struggling in a certain area, consult with his or her teacher to identify strategies and resources that might be helpful.  
  • Educate other parents about the transition to the CCSS.  
  • Explore opportunities to become actively involved in the Common Core transition through your state and local Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) or Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). 

Resources for Parents and Guardians

The following Web resources provide the most current information from the California Department of Education (CDE) Web Site and are continuously updated. The first reference is the main CDE CCSS Web Page which includes the Common Core State Standards Systems Implementation Plan for California, the Significant Milestones Timeline, and a "Learn More" section that provides additional links to audience specific information.


California Department of Education CCSS Web Page: http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cc/ (select "Students/Parents" tab)


SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium Information:



K-8 California's Common Core Standards Parent Handbook:

This handbook, created by the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) in consultation with the California State PTA, gives parents an introduction to California's CCSS and a summary of what students are expected to learn as they advance from kindergarten through grade eight.





"An IB education not only holds students to the highest academic standards but also incorporates an understanding and appreciation of other cultures and points of view, and world language competency-precisely the soft skills in demand by the global economy. IB students demonstrate a strong competency in the context of global readiness and are, not surprisingly, sought after by colleges and universities for their soft skills as well as their hard-earned academic achievements." - Drew Deutch, Director, IB Americas


The International Baccalaureate is preparing to implement the Middle Years Programme (MYP): Next Chapter changes this Fall, and the timing perfectly coincides with the launch of the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). This is an exciting time because both programs have common central elements - so they are mutually complementary. For example, the IB combines rigorous, international objectives and high quality assessments with the unique IB philosophy and learner profile. These components both complement and support the CCSS as the IB creates globally-minded, internationally-competitive, college and career-ready students. Furthermore, IB World Schools have an advantage when it comes to adopting the CCSS, since they have already been engaging students in depth of understanding of a subject in real-life contexts rather than just focusing on "coverage" of a breadth of material.

Some specific areas where you will see the complement is in the relationship between the College and Career Readiness Standards, CC standards for speaking and listening, as well as writing, language production and the IBMYP objectives in nearly every subject area. In addition, the ability of students to work with multiple text-types, analyze, persuade and respond to text are important in both CCSS and the IBMYP. Students are expected to engage in complex pieces of text, and produce writing that is purposeful about both the context and content of the text(s) for varied audiences. At JGMS, we have already implemented schoolwide close reading strategies that are helping students to produce evidence-based writing across disciplines.

For mathematics, the CCSS asks students to develop standards for mathematical Practice (SMPs) which articulate the expected thinking habits and behaviors that we would like students to develop when engaging with mathematics. The SMPs are a great match with the objectives for MYP mathematics. As students are working on Common Core SMPs, they are also working towards IB targets that develop habits of mind which benefit them in the classroom, for college, career and beyond. IB and CCSS also promote students' conceptual learning of mathematics and application of their understanding to problems set in global contexts.

At JGMS, we are excited about the launch of MYP: The Next Chapter, and the Common Core State Standards. We feel the programs are more complementary than our previous state standards and will equip our students to be more mindful contributors in their careers, and personal lives that will make a better and more peaceful world for us all. 

What is IB? What is in it for me and my child?

Our IB Coordinators across the district collaborated to host an IB Parent Night this past January 14th at John Glenn Middle School in the multi-purpose room. The goal was to educate our current and future parent community about what an International Bacclaureate Programme education looks like K - 12, and how it is helpful. The presentation endeavored to answer two common questions: "What is IB?" and "What is in it for me and my child?" and was well-attended. For incoming sixth grade parents, attend JGMS' sixth grade orientation.

It's a very exciting time at our IB schools since the IB Philosophy and framework will complement the implementation of the Common Core State Standards which will be effective Fall of 2014.

For more information about John Glenn Middle School's IB Middle Years Programme, you can contact Ms. Bloch: Julie.bloch@desertsands.us or for La Quinta High School's Programme, you can contact Mrs. Cinatl: Diana.cinatl@desertsands.us . For Amelia Earhart's Primary Years Programme, you can contact Mrs. Price: Tammie.price@desertsands.us, or for Ben Franklin's Primary Years Programme, you can contact Mrs. Winchester: Christina.winchester@desertsands.us.







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