Monument Valley Regional Middle School
Week at a Glance and News and Notes

Note from the Principal:

June 22, 2017

Dear Parents and Guardians,

It is with great pleasure that I wish you and your child a happy and productive summer!  We had a great year at Monument Valley and I want to thank you for your collaboration and support this year.  As we finish in this busy time I am amazed at the dedication and creativity that our students bring to their education, and the focus and energy that our staff brings every day to the classroom and the school.  This was another amazing year, as we continued on our goal of making sure every student was challenged by the content and activities in the classroom, and that learning was relevant to children’s lives.

In a few days you will get a letter with several important documents.  One is the final report card for the year, containing your child’s grades for the fourth quarter as well as the final grades for the year.  Please review and let us know if you have any questions about this report.  You will also find the summer’s Reading assignment.  It is essential that your child continue reading this summer to keep up interest and skills for the next grade. The assignment has many ways for your kid to read, and get acknowledgement for their efforts.  There is a log to document what your child has read.   Please make sure your child brings the log to the first day of school.  There may be other enclosures in this mailing relevant to your child’s grade next year, so please review them all.

We return from the summer on Wednesday, August 30 for a full day of school.  Teaching staff will be fresh off of a vacation and several days of preparation for school to begin.  Many of our teachers are doing district funded projects this summer to adjust and create dynamic units of study that engage all learners.  We are excited about the opportunities and challenges that next year will bring for children and adults alike!  For now, enjoy the summer, the fresh air, and the outdoors: hike, run, swim, eat fresh fruit and vegetables, play games, curl up with a favorite book in the shade, travel to new and exciting places close or far from home, and just have fun.  You will receive more detailed information in August about the start of school, your child’s schedule and next year.  If you have any questions from this year, about the summer or about next year please contact us: the school is open all summer, though much quieter in July and August!  With much fondness and cheer, I wish you and your family a glorious summer.


Ben Doren

Week at a Glance:

Enjoy the summer!!!!

Important Information:

Library Books
Please return all library books checked out this year.  It is important for us to get a thorough inventory, and replace books that are missing.


Flyers are available on our website at this link:

This week’s flyers:

• Berkshire Museum Science Night
• Grils on the Run! Grades 6-8 for the Fall

Last week’s flyers:

• Southern Berkshire Youth Football Skills & Drills Day and Fall Season Sign Ups
• Berkshire South Regional Community Center: Babysitter Training Class, and Babysitter, First Aid and Infant CPR Class
• Berkshire South Regional Community Center Action Adventures Day Camp
• Berkshire Children and Families Resource and Health Fair
• Zerbini Circus in Dalton

Two weeks ago:

• Berkshire Soccer School Summer 2017 registration

Older flyers:

• Berkshire Hills Youth Soccer Club Fall 2017 Travel Soccer Player Registration
• Parent, Don’t Be Afraid of “The Talk” Anymore: How to talk honestly with your kids about sex, hosted by Railroad Street Youth Project
• Drobots Summer Camp at BCD: Incorporating a STEAM education through drone technology
• Monthly community meeting of the Autism Collaborative of Berkshire County
• Tick Identification Card from the School Nurse
• Girl Scout Summer Camp
• Renaissance Arts Center: Fifth Annual Evening of the Arts
• Wisdom Lodge Second Annual Golf Tournament
• Teen Marijuana Use: What’s the Big Deal?
• Southern Berkshire Social Resource Parent Meetup
• Trauma, Suicide and Addiction in the Berlksires: What WE can do
• Great Barrington Fairground Community Garden
• Ward’s Earth Day and Arbor Day Celebration: Coupon for a free White Pine seedling
• Berkshire South Waterfront Lifeguard Training
• Berkshire South Summer Action Adventure Day Camps
• Snappers Swim Club Spring and Summer sessions
• Spring Training Baseball Clinics
• Renaissance Arts Center Spring Break and Summer programming
• Berkshire South Family Spring Dance for Grades K-5
• Great Barrington Babe Ruth Baseball Season Registration
• Berkshire Pulse Summer Youth Programs Registration
• An Evening with Reggie Harris at the Kellogg Music Center
• Austen Riggs Center Community Forum: Collaborating to Support Safe, Inclusive and Healthy Communities
• An Invitation to Change:  Parent Training for Helping a Child Struggling with Substances (Rescheduled date)
• Kingsbread Pride 16 and Under AAU Basketball
• Federation for Children with Special Needs: Basic Right in Special Education.  A Free Workshop for Parents and Professionals
• Parent Resource Center at the Children’s Study Home: Behavior Management workshop
• Berkshire County ARC: Planning a Life.  Making the Most Out of High for a Student with Disabilities
• Berkshire South: Pre-School Gymnastics program
• Lee Youth Lacrosse
• Girl’s Softball Sign Ups
• Berkshire South’s 5K Run, Walk and Breakfast
• Trinity ValleyCats Baseball Education Day 2017
• Little League application and sign up
• Renaissance Arts Center February Vacation Program: Mardi Gras!
• Youth Art Month: United Through Art poster
• South Berkshire Youth Baseball Sing-Ups
• Workshops with the Family Center at the Children’s Study Home: Behavior Management and Improving Family Interactions
• IS183 Summer 2017 Art Camps

Dear Parents and Caregiver:

On behalf of the Parent Mentor Program, I hope that your child/children are having a happy, successful 2016-2017 school year!    Some of you may have heard recently about the Student Mentor Program at Monument Valley Regional Middle School.  7th and 8th graders Student mentors are paired with 5th and 6th graders.  They meet at least once a week in the halls, the library, or the gym and are spending quality getting to know each other

Did you know that Monument Valley Regional Middle School has an active Parent Mentor program that oversees the Student Mentors?  Not only do we provide training to the Mentors, but we also meet with them every step of the way and provide ongoing training and support throughout the school year.   This year, our program is bigger and better than ever!!! Because of this growth of student mentors, we are actively seeking volunteers for our Parent Mentor group.  We meet every Wednesday at 11am in the conference room at Monument Valley Regional Middle School.   Feel free to drop into a meeting!!!

Another service we provide as Parent Mentors  is to support to you – the parents and caregivers.  Whether it’s questions or concerns about the Student Mentor Program, or if you want to volunteer to be part of this program, we would love to help you out.  And, let’s face it, parenting is tough….if you would like to be in touch with a parent who is in the trenches with you, we are here for you.  My contact information is listed below….feel free to call, text, or email me.  Either I or one of our other Parent Mentors will promptly get in touch with you.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Karen Schneyer,  Parent Mentor
(413) 441-8522

A note on PowerSchool, our Website, and keeping up with school information

This is a reprint of a recent note from the principal. I got some very positive responses from families on the information, so want to let it be out there for another week.  Please review the information and the links if you did not get a chance last week.  There is a lot that our faculty is doing for and with your children.  The best thing you can do to support our work is to be informed!

We are fully into fall and the school year is humming.  This has been a busy school year so far, and in some ways it feels like we just started and in other it is well on its way.  There is still a palpable energy at MV amongst the students that feels great.  As I move about the school each week visiting classes it is clear how much work went into preparing lessons and units for maximum engagement by students.  Teachers and paras work hard to make sure the content comes alive and that skills are accessible for students to learn.  We also pay attention when your child is struggling or has maxed out a learning opportunity.  It is our goal to ensure that each students is learning in the sweet spot—the place of appropriate challenge where things are just hard enough that they are learning, but not overwhelming or boring.  In “edu-speak” this is called the Zone of Proximal Development  and requires deep knowledge of content teaching and child development to get right.  It also takes teaming, which is the hall mark of the MV teaching culture, where staff discuss how students, from individuals to groups to classes, are growing week to week.

We are approaching the end of the first quarter.  We will send Report Cards home in a week or so once we compile all the grades and print the reports.  At this point in the year most of you have already checked PowerSchool, and many of you use it as a tool to keep current on your child’s achievement.  Most of our students, especially in the upper grades, use PowerSchool as a way to track their assignments and stay current on what they need to complete.  We encourage you to use PowerSchool, as it is the WAY to understand who your child is progressing this year.  If you need assistance connecting with PowerSchool please contact Debra Spence, our Guidance Secretary, at school or via email at and she can help you set up your account.  The Report Card at this point should be understandable, as you and your child can already access grades and assignment scores online through PowerSchool.  It is important that you stay current, so there are no surprises at the end of each quarter when grades are reported to you.  This is a major shift that has occurred over the past three years in assessment at MV: we are moving away from high-stakes summative assessments like tests and end-of-quarter mega-projects, to a performance based assessment program.  Teachers collect information weekly on your child’s growth and publish the information on PowerSchool.  We also value the types of assessments that show us the deeper understanding of units of study—they are called Performance Assessments, and are the essays, lab reports, research paper, math projects, compositions, performances and presentations that show us that your child can apply their understanding in new contexts.  All of this is shared in PowerSchool and on the Report Card.  Please make PowerSchool a regular visit for you and your family.

Here are some links so you can access easily:

School Website:

Grade Level portals for current class information:
You will notice that we now have direct links on our school website to the grade level pages for assignments and current units of study in your child’s classes.  This is now an easy way to find out what the homework is tonight, what the project is this week and what resources are available to complete work.  We also have parent resources for information on the community and collaboration.

If you want the mobile version of PowerSchool, please watch this video:  This is a great portal to get access to important information.  The district number is SSJJ.  If you need your login information for your child, please contact our Guidance Secretary, Debra Spence at 413-644-2300 or for your information.