Dear Students, Parents and Guardians:
Welcome back to O’Maley for the 2016-17 school year! I hope that you had a wonderful summer. We have been working hard to ensure that this school year is both rigorous and engaging. This year, I want to welcome our new Assistant Principal, Jeff Destino, who you might know as our former grade 8 social studies teacher. Jeff is an exemplary educator who will bring his passion for O’Maley to his new role.
At the O’Maley Innovation Middle School, we strive to meet the needs of all our students. To help us meet the rigorous academic standards of the Common Core, we made some changes to our already robust curriculum. The math department adopted a new program: Big Ideas. Students will see increased expectations, as this program is more challenging. We provided teachers with the professional development required to implement this program. In ELA, we continue to work towards a consistent writing program throughout all grades. Science has a new framework that has required curriculum and staffing changes amongst all grades. Social studies will work with our library/media specialist to incorporate the use of the inquiry model, which will then be used throughout all curriculum areas. We continue to have a varied offering of specialist classes, which include art, performing arts, Spanish, health/wellness, band and chorus. Lastly, Word Generation, a well-researched program that focuses on five academic words each week, continues this year with new academic vocabulary.
O’Maley is also continuing initiatives started last year. We continue our three-year goal to change our library into a Learning Commons. The endeavor is funded through a grant received from the Cummings Foundation and through the hard work of the Gloucester Education Foundation. PBIS, a program that models positive behavior and builds on our SAILS program, continues to be a major part of our school culture. The 1:1 Chromebook initiative continues for all grade eight students. This year the initiative has been expanded to include classroom sets for all grade seven students. These computers are a valuable tool for research and collaboration as well as for learning the technical skills necessary for a smooth transition to high school and beyond. O’Maley Academy, our after school program, funded through a 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant, continues this year with varied offerings that enhance and improve student skills in language arts, math and social emotional awareness. Afterschool sports offerings for this fall are field hockey and cross country.
We look ahead to a wonderful school year and to welcoming students on August 31st for Opening Day and September 15th for our Parent Open House. Please do not forget to sign up for our weekly O’Maley Happenings. The directions to sign up is on our website, gloucesterschools.com/Omaley. You can also follow us on Twitter @MyStrongWisdom.