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.







Posted by Dr. Salehi on Wednesday, Oct 15th, 2014.
MYP: What's Happening
2014: Where Common Core and IB Meet
This September was the launch of the MYP: Next Chapter as well as the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The alignment of the new state standards is now closer to the IB objectives and instructional philosophy than ever before. Because there were such major changes to the standards, as well as significant changes in IB unit planning, teachers are now diligently working on designing new units of study as well as new assessment tasks. This is a process that will likely continue until our next IB evaluation year in 2017.
Interdisciplinary Unit Planning
This year we will continue to build on last year's successful Interdisciplinary Units. Each grade level has chosen a context or a concept that is internationally connected so that students develop a sense of their place in the world. Ideas being explored this school year are: India for sixth grade, challenges and connections between the Black Plague and the current Ebola crisis in seventh grade, and the eighth grade will be looking at fairness and development regarding water and the impact of war in the Sudan. Students will experience these units during the third quarter of the year.

Promotion with Honors and Redhawk Participants
Have you served your 10 hours yet?
We annually honor our students who serve at least ten hours of community service with a Redhawk Participant award and a pizza and ice cream lunch at the end of the year. We also honor balanced learners who excel in: academics, school involvement, and community service by additionally inviting these students to the Academy Awards ceremony to Promote with Honors or High Honors (8th grade). Information for both of these types of recognition were shared in students' ASAP classes in September. Completed forms for all of these distinctions are due to Mrs. Middlebrook by May 6th this year.
For more information, contact our IB Coordinator: Julie.bloch@desertsands.us.

First Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration at JGMS
Our Fine Arts teachers and students, as well as our Language Acquisition teachers collaborated to host the First Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Festival on October 11th complete with Ballet Folklorico, Arts and Crafts, music, food, and fun. The event was held here at JGMS on Saturday and was a huge success thanks to our dedicated teachers students and volunteers.

California College Guidance Initiative (CCGI)
Desert Sands Unified is excited to partner with the California College Guidance Initiative (CCGI) to support 6th-12th grade students, families, and staff as they plan and prepare for college and career. The combination of technology tools and personal guidance help empower students to successfully research potential colleges and career paths, choose high school courses that prepare them for college, and navigate the process of paying for and applying to colleges. CCGI offers intuitive electronic tools allowing students to take control of their educational path and continually monitor their academic progress through a dashboard environment. All of this is available on the CaliforniaColleges.edu website, which is a free resource.
Another benefit of this partnership includes the ability for students to look at real time data of courses taken, grades received, track their academic progress, and automatically fill in course work into the California State University (CSU) application. Educational records will be stored securely, in accordance to federal and state law. With a signed CCGI consent form, which was included in the registration packet, students and families will be able to maximize this resource.

Student-Led Conferences
Tuesday, November 18 (1:00-3:00 & 4:00-6:00)

The opportunity for parents to have a glimpse of their students' hard work is approaching.
On November 18th, we will hold our Annual Student-Led Conferences (SLC) to discuss your student's progress at John Glenn Middle School of International Studies.

As part of our school's IB/MYP focus on student reflection, each child will participate in a conference with you. Your student will discuss his/her academic success, behavior, responsibility, work habits, and reflect upon areas of strength, areas of improvement, achievement and/or planning towards both short-term and long term goals. Each conference typically takes about 20 minutes.

For this year, your child will have two additional important topics: Common Core Assessments and the California College Guidance Initiative (CCGI).

Your student will be working hard throughout the year to master the newly adopted Common Core Standards and will demonstrate their knowledge in the Spring of 2015. They will provide you with an English Language Arts and math example; they also briefly discuss how the new assessments are more rigorous than the previous standards. Also, your student will share their CCGI plan they created with his/her counselor and teachers. Please be sure to attend as your child will be working hard these upcoming weeks to organize work samples, write information on their cover sheets, and prepare for the meeting.

To All Redhawk Families
Due to increased enrollment and bussing, we have concluded the congestion caused by the significant number of vehicles along Miles Avenue creates a potentially unsafe situation during key times of the school day. In order to address the congestion, Amelia Earhart Elementary and John Glenn Middle Schools have collaborated upon a plan revising the options for student drop-off and pick-up.

The Miles Avenue parking area will be primarily designated for employees and vehicles of Desert Sands Unified School District. However, Parents have the limited option to park and escort their student to and from school campus. Red curbs will replace yellow ones and signs will clearly indicate that the only viable drop-off or pick-up points are within a parking stall. The outside lane is reserved solely for clearly designated DSUSD, emergency, and law-enforcement vehicles.

The Dune Palms parking area will provide curbside student drop-off, and pick-up. Painted arrows and signs will help provide a safer, less-congested venue for student drop-off and pick-up. Upon entering at Dune Palms Road, there exist two options;
* A valet lane expressly created for curbside service, and
* A traffic loop which gives access to the inner parking area, and allows for the driver to bypass those waiting in the valet line to search for a curbside opportunity.
* The valet lane is the only lane designated for drop-off or pick-up of students.
* For their safety, students must exit/enter the vehicle at the side of the vehicle closest to the curb.
* 7:10am - 7:25am and again from 2:05 - 2:20, our goal is to have volunteers and staff members serve as expediters who will help speed up the transportation process by helping students .

The traffic loop is for those who plan to park, then visit the campus for meetings, to escort a student, volunteer, etc. Stopping in or disembarking from vehicles in the traffic loop in not permitted. It is a huge safety risk and must be avoided at all costs.

We hope with patience and lots of constructive communication, we can make this transition as smooth as possible.