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News 9/18/17
Hi Everyone,

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 1.22.12 PM.png I apologize for the delay in the newsletter. Over the weekend, I attended the annual Challenge Success conference at Stanford University alongside staff members, parents and students representing Blanchard, Stony Brook, and Westford Academy. The trip across the country was 72-hours of learning, collaboration, and inspiration. A little background about Challenge Success – Westford's secondary schools formed a partnership with the non-profit organization last year to examine ways that we can give our students the tools and skills to navigate their fast-paced world while maintaining balance. We formed teams comprised of teachers, parents, counselors, administrators at the individual schools. Over the course of the year, we met to review student data from a survey we administered to all students last fall. The questions provided insight into students' physical and mental health, adult connections, engagement, academic work, homework, stress and ways to alleviate it. This helped the Blanchard Challenge Success team begin honing in on focus areas for the work we will do with Challenge Success in the coming years. At the conference, we attended workshops, participated in roundtable discussions, and received coaching. We crafted a vision and started planning steps we can take as a Blanchard and Westford community to encourage well-balanced, healthy, and engaged learners. Parent involvement will be a critical component of making this initiative a success. To that end, we will be providing regular updates in various communications, including the newsletter. If you are interested in more information about Challenge Success, visit their website www.challengesuccess.org. You can also keep with them on social media – on facebook at Challenge Success and on Twitter @ChalSuccess.

Visit Blanchard's New After School Activities Page!
Encourage your middleschooler to try one of the 25 clubs we are offering this year; all run by Blanchard staff and open to all students! We've launched an all new extracurricular page to kick off this year's activities! Check it out here: Blanchard Activities. You will find important information pertaining to each specific activity as well as a calendar of scheduled club meetings. Extracurricular updates are also posted under Daily Announcements on the homepage. There is a one-time $50 fee that allows students to try multiple activities. Please return this fee and activities form to your child's homeroom teacher. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly if you are in need of financial assistance. We do not want financial circumstances to prevent a student from participating in any school activity.

Study Skills in Sixth Grade
Sixth graders are off to a great start navigating their new school, becoming familiar with their teachers' expectations, and making new connections with peers. They are learning the middle routines and developing good academic habits. On Orientation Day, Mrs. Sandore talked with every sixth grade homeroom about the importance of organization in middle school. Students also participated in two workshops led by Mrs. Sandore. Using a neat kitchen cabinet analogy and videos showing the right way to stay organized, students learned the importance of a place for everything and everything in its place. Topics included their locker, binders, and homework folder. They saw a separate workshop on agenda last week during advisory. Using examples of actual agenda pages from Blanchard students, the sixth graders learned that consistent use will help them keep track of all daily and long term assignments. They were also encouraged to use the bottom portion of each day to record their after school activities to better help them plan their time to get their homework done. Practicing these strategies early in the year will help build the skills that will make them successful sixth graders.

Message for Sixth Grade Parents
The annual visit from author Jack Gantos is always a favorite enrichment program among students and staff. MSPTO has arranged for his program at Blanchard on October 18. They would also like to extend parents the opportunity to purchase a book for Mr. Gantos to sign after the presentation. If you are interested, the order form is included here: Jack Gantos Book Orders

Picture Retakes
If your child missed this Monday's school pictures or is interested in a retake, LifeTouch will be back for another round on November 20.

Message from Dee Bus Company
Late buses are available Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Students are able to take a different late bus on these days with advance permission from Dee Bus. There is no late bus on Mondays and Fridays.

Food Services Update
Starting tomorrow, a quick "grab and go" breakfast will be offered  for students to purchase in the cafeteria until 7:35 each morning. The menu is limited at this time, but each meal will include a serving of fruits, grains, and dairy. As the program expands, additionally offerings may be added. Students will be able to use their student ID numbers used for lunches to add a breakfast to their meal account as well. If you have any questions pertaining to our breakfast program, please contact Denise Willard, Blanchard Cafeteria Manager, at dwillard@westfordk12.us.

Athletics Update
Cross country isn't the only Blanchard team that is off and running!  Our soccer and field hockey teams are working hard ton prepare for today's start of league competition. The first meet for cross country is scheduled for tomorrow. All of our teams face Stony Brook this week. Field hockey plays their games at Blanchard and all others complete at Stony Brook. Keep an eye on announcements for weather-related cancellations. Best of luck to all our Bulldogs!

Eighth Grade Washington, D.C. Trip Parent Information Night
Eighth grade students will be traveling to Washington, D.C. again this spring. Mr. Parker, Social Studies Teacher and D.C. Trip Coordinator, will be holding an informational meeting for parents on September 27. Please plan to attend if your eighth grade student may be attending the trip. The meeting will take place from 7:00 p.m.– 8:00 p.m. at Blanchard in the Katie Enos Performing Arts Center.

School Advisory Council Openings
The School Advisory Council (SAC) provides parents with a meaningful opportunity to help shape programs and decisions, assisting the principal in identifying needs of the school community, adopting educational goals, and formulating the School Improvement Plan.  The Blanchard Middle School SAC is seeking 1-2 new parent representatives for the 2017-2018 academic year. Interested parties should submit the candidate form emailed last week by Friday, September 22.  If necessary, an election conducted by Westford MSPTO will follow. Feel free to call me if you have any questions, and thank you in advance for your consideration!

Important Dates
10/9  No School – Columbus Day
10/10  No School – Professional Development


Enjoy the rest of your week. Hopefully, it includes ample time for PDF (no, not electronic files), the things that we learned this weekend play a major role in preparing children to handle stress and be their best selves– playtime, downtime, and family time.

Sincerely,
Tim

Timothy Hislop
Principal
Lloyd G. Blanchard Middle School
Westford, MA
(978) 692-5582 ext. 171




FAME  is a non-profit parent volunteer organization that has been supporting music education at all grade levels of Westford Public Schools since 1983. We are currently looking for parent volunteers to join us this year. Whether you can volunteer for just one event or a few hours a month, we invite you to our first meeting of the year on Thursday 9/21/2017 at 7 pm at Westford Academy room 108. Thank you for those who submitted the survey at the end of the school year. For those of you who did not get a chance and would like to help us better serve our music students and teachers, please complete our short  (5 minutes) FAME Survey by 9/30/2017.  We value your feedback and look forward to your suggestions and ideas!
Click on the link: FAME SURVEY 2017



Blanchard Middle School  |  14 West Street, Westford, MA 01886  |  ph: (978) 692-5582  |  fx: (978) 692-5598

Westford Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or homelessness.