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Monday, August 12, 2013

Why Two Lunches?

  This year, Esperero Canyon Middle School has gone from three to two lunches.  Like our sister school, Orange Grove (who switched to 2 lunches a year ago), we feel this change is a necessary one so that we can allow our teachers common content level team planning time.  In order to prepare our students for rigorous 21st Century learning in light of the Common Core State Standards, research says that teachers need time to plan and collaborate.  Instead of having 6th, 7th, and 8th grade lunches separately, we have eliminated one lunch period.  The 6th graders and 1/2 of 7th graders go to A lunch.  One-half of 7th graders and all of the 8th graders go to B lunch. 
  In order to accommodate additional students at each lunch, we ordered and put into place additional cafeteria tables.  We committed to giving teachers  a duty-free lunch so that they can be available at lunch to assist students.  We have increased our supervision with our very experienced team of counselors, our curriculum technology integrator, and our educational assistants.  Ms. Castro and I always do lunch duty except for days when we have district level meetings when we appoint a designee.  Our cafeteria manager, Ms. Lee, and her cheerful and efficient staff are always present along with additional staff to make sure that the students can purchase and eat their lunches in a reasonable amount of time.  
    Some of the events that will take place this year at lunch include our theme lunches.  We will continue our Valentine lunch for parents and grandparents.  We will also have an international lunch for our students where they can experience cuisine from other countries, specially prepared by our wonderful food service provider, Sodexo. Many of our students tell us that they really love our lunch menu, especially the pizza and freshly baked pretzels. 
     We appreciate any feedback that can help us be a better learning community.  Please email me at or call at 209-8102.  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Open Enrollment Students Can Apply for Bus Transportation Services NOW!!!!

In a nod to Pat Benetar, I really should call this entry "Hot Child in the City." It seems to describe students, teachers, and parents who are experiencing morning and afternoon drop-off and pick-up at ECMS during the first days of the school year.   I have received numerous emails and phone calls from frustrated parents who have been spending inordinate amounts in long lines.  I have been in communication with homeowners near our school who are concerned that students are being dropped off on private property in order to circumvent waiting in line. 

The first days are never easy at ECMS in terms of parking.  It takes a while to learn the routines of our parking lot.  We increase our staff coverage and employ an off-duty deputy to direct traffic. Mr. Rob Henikman, principal of Canyon View, and I are in constant communication about our mutual challenges of managing our schools' traffic patterns and the inevitable back up on Sabino Canyon Road past Sunrise. Be assured, as people learn the routines of our parking lot, traffic flow will improve and wait times will diminish. In the meantime, we encourage all students who can take the bus to do so. 

The good news is that all open enrollment students can apply to ride the bus right now on the CFSD website!  We assess the ridership of our in-district students during the first couple of weeks of school to determine whether our busses are at capacity.  If there is room on the bus, we open the seats to OE students.  Last year, we were able to provide bus service to all open enrollment families who requested it.  To apply for transportation services, go to the CFSD website, click on the "Parent" tab, then click on "Transportation" and then you will see the application. Submit it ASAP!

Please know that we appreciate your patience during these times of long lines and high temperatures.  Please know that safety of our students is first and foremost for us here at ECMS and in CFSD.  We are in this together and for the long haul.  Please know that we are trying our very best to ensure that everyone arrives and departs in total safety.    

Monday, August 5, 2013

6th Grade Orientation and Welcome!

Dearest Esperero Family:

Welcome to the 2013-14 School Year!  We are so happy to see our new and returning students.  
Just want to say how much we have missed you over the summer.  It has been very lonely at ECMS without our wonderful students and faculty.  

I want to extend a warm hello to all of our 6th grade students and parents!  We want to invite all 6th grade parents to our Parent Orientation Session from 10:15-11:15 in our library on Wednesday, August 7. 6th Grade Orientation for students starts at 10 am in the MPR on the same day! So drop your student off and come to the library for some great information.  Ms. Jennifer Marner, 6th grade counselor and Mr. Cory Walavich, ECMS Band Director will facilitate this session.  The primary goal of parent orientation is to support parents in helping our 6th graders to be successful at ECMS.  This is NOT mandatory and we realize that not all parents will be able to attend. There will be many opportunities to interact with us, so not to worry. 

Our 6th grade counselor is Ms. Jennifer Marner and her extension is 209-8112.  Ms. Marner is amazing at helping students and parents. Counseling is her passion and she is here to advocate for students.

If you have questions about how ECMS works, please allow us to assist you.  We are here to help! Ms. Sheryl Castro is our Dean of Students.  Both Ms. Castro and I can be reached at 209-8100.  

I have spent almost 3 decades in education and every year, I still get butterflies.  If you are the same way, just know it is a normal state of being.  We all care about our kids' well-being and academic progress.  Let me assure you that all students will be known to their teachers by name and feel connected to our school academically, socially and emotionally.  It is our mission to move all students forward in a safe, caring and nurturing environment. 

Welcome aboard!  

Mary Setliff, NBCT


Monday, August 5
 Schedule Distribution - 7th grade
Wednesday, August 7
 6th grade orientation
 Schedule Distribution - 8th grade
Thursday, August 8
 First Day for Students!
Thursday, August 22
 FFO General Mtg
Thursday, August 29
 Back to School Night!
Monday, September 2
Wednesday, September 4