What a beautiful day today! We can really appreciate this beautiful weather after all the rainy days we have had recently. March is approaching very quickly and in 4 weeks from today, we will all be on Spring Break.
All of our eighth graders have completed their high school registration forms. Mrs. Kristi Wade, the freshman counselor, will be reviewing the forms over the next few weeks and will contact you if she has any questions. I know this process, especially the Four-Year Plan, is challenging, especially for parents who do not have older children at OMHS. However, it is an extrememly important step in helping our eighth graders realize that to reach their high school graduation goal, they must have a detailed plan. I like to think of it as having a map to get from one destination to another. The Four-Year Plan is a student’s map for getting every course they need to take at OMHS.
I just want to make you aware of a few important dates that will be happening this spring.
SPRING BREAK–MARCH 18 – 22
ARMT+ TESTS–MAY 6 – MAY 10 (MAY 13,14 ARE MAKE-UP DAYS)
EIGHTH GRADE BANQUET–MAY 17
This year is really going by quickly. I know our eighth graders are really looking forward to ending their three years at Oak Mountain Middle and beginning their four years at Oak Mountain High School.
Eighth grade students were given their Explore Test results in January.,
Academic teachers in Language Arts (English and Reading), Math, and Science reviewed the questions and answers with their students. This test is unusual in that students were given their original test booklets with their test results. The teachers went over the correct answer and helped the students understand the reasoning for that answer. This was a very effective tool in teaching test-taking skills.
I met with all eighth grade students that day during their P.E. period to help each student interpret and understand their results from the front page of their report. The academic portion of the test reflects percentile scores in English (Usage/Mechanics and Rhetorical Skills), Mathematics, Reading and Science. Two percentiles are listed–one compares the student’s score with other students in the United States and the second percentile score compares the student’s score with other eighth grade students at Oak Mountain Middle.
The report also included information about the PLAN Composite Score Range. This predicted the range of scores this student may expect on the test when they take the PLAN test in the tenth grade. The PLAN results will indicate the range of scores that the student is likely to make on the ACT. Career areas are suggested that are based on their academic results and their interests.
Students brought their test booklets and results home in January. Hopefully, you have reviewed the Explore Score Report with your child. The front page of the report contained general information and the back page lists the answers your child gave on the academic portion of the test. If the answer was correct a “+” is listed. If the answer was incorrect, the correct answer was listed. If you have not already done so, please review these answers with your child. Each section has specific suggestions for each student to improve their scores in English, Reading, Mathematics and Science. This information will be very beneficial to you as you help your child.
You may want to keep this test booklet for review before the PLAN is given in the tenth grade. Also, you can compare scores from eighth grade.
All of our eighth graders participated in High Flight in late October at the 4-H Center in Columbiana. White Team went on October 29, Blue Team on October 30 and Red Team on October 31. Students came to school at their normal time and left in their school buses around 8:15. After spending the day at ‘High Flight’, students returned to Oak Mountain Middle School around 5:30 p.m.
Our eighth graders have participated in High Flight for several years and this is always one of the highlights of their eighth grade year. One half of the day was spent on a ‘low ropes course’ with certified ropes instructors and half the day was spent in a small group session.
The ‘Low Ropes Course’ presents many challenges but through teamwork, success was achieved by all of the groups. Communication skills, both listening and speaking, improved throughout the day. Students learn that quite often the first idea is not the best solution for solving a problem. We relate that to their personal life and choices by stressing that when they are with their friends, they don’t need to automatically follow the first suggestion that is made. It is better to consider many options and then make the best decision that they can. Students learn the importance of teamwork and listening to everyone–not just the loudest voice. It was constantly emphasized that,”If we can work together at High Flight, we can demonstrate the same skills of teamwork on campus at OMMS”.
The small group session was very interesting. The group topic this year was on bullying, conflict resolution, cliques, and accepting students with diverse backgrounds. Students participated in many activities and learned new techniques and strategies for dealing with these issues. It was emphasized that we have much more in common than differences with each other.
Our students truly benefit from this day and always demonstrate that they are truly, ‘Nothing But the Best’.
On October 24, all eighth graders took the EXPLORE TEST. This test is published by ACT and is a component of the ACT College and Career Readiness System. Students will take a similar test, PLAN, in the 10th grade and will take the ACT test in grades 11 and 12. EXPLORE was given in October so that students will have the results before high school course selection which is usually the end of January.
The test consists of two parts. The achievement test portion assesses the academic areas of English, Reading, Mathematics and Science. This part of the test is similar to the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT) and will give percentile scores which will indicate where each student ranks compared with other eighth graders in the nation.
Part II consists of a Needs Assessment in which information is given by the student about their perceived needs. It also asks information about students’ school coursework plans, educational and career plans after high school and other relevant information. The last section is an interest inventory where each student indicates their personal interests.
The results of the test are designed to
- Assess academic progress
- Provide an early indicator of college readiness
- Help students understand and begin to explore the wide range of career options open to them
- Assist students in developing a high school coursework plan that prepares them to achieve their post-high school goals
The results of this test will provide valuable information in guiding students and parents as important future educational and career decisions are made. The results will compare academic abilities and interests in order to recommend possible career choices and high school courses that may be necessary to reach post-high school goals.
The academic teachers and I will go over the results of the test with students at the beginning of our second semester. This test is unusual in that it allows students to look at their test booklet questions and compare their answers in order to evaluate their performance. Our goal is to help students not only identify the correct answer to each question, but to assess the logic that they used in selecting their answers.
The EXPLORE Test provides a wonderful opportunity for our students to think about their futures and to evaluate the steps that are going to have to be taken to reach their desired goals. The results of the test give students and parents valuable information that may be used in the selection of high school courses.
For more information, you may want to view the following presentation. At the end of the PowerPoint, there is a link to the EXPLORE site where you may conduct more research on this test. EXPLORE PowerPoint Presentation
Please schedule your vacation, doctor and dentist visits around these dates. We usually finish testing around noon.
OCTOBER 24–EXPLORE (There is no make-up for this test.)
MARCH 25 – MAY 3–ACCESS (given to ELL-English Language Learners)
MAY 6 – 14–ARMT+ (given to all 6th, 7th and 8th grade students)
MAY 6, MONDAY–ARMT+ READING PART 1
MAY 7, TUESDAY–ARMT+ READING PART 2
MAY 8, WEDNESDAY–ARMT+ MATH PART 1
MAY 9, THURSDAY–ARMT+ MATH PART 2
MAY 10 – MAY 14–MAKE-UP
TBD–END OF COURSE TEST–ALGEBRA I