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Middle Messenger

Updated March 21, 2019

Notes from Notestine

Our future WAMS assistant principal, Jessica Parsons, sent me this article and it was so good I wanted to share it with you.  Call it a "Jot from Jessica" or "Jessica's Journal" or "Poetics from the Prophet Parsons"
Enjoy the read and the ride!

Here are five truths about middle schoolers, along with tips to help parents approach a critical phase with positivity and confidence.

Most middle schoolers don’t crave drama.  
Kids this age tend to be unfairly maligned as high-intensity pot-stirrers, but that’s a mischaracterization. They simply lack perspective and life experience. If you’ve never been dumped by your best friend, how can you know the searing pain won’t last forever? Instead of insisting it’s not a catastrophe, validate your kid’s real heartbreak, redirect their energy, and help them expand their friend group. And remember—as much as kids dislike peer drama, they really don’t want any drama from you. If they suspect you’ll overreact, they won’t tell you they failed a quiz or sent a classmate a nude selfie. Try to keep your cool so you’re in the know when they need help regrouping. 

They’re not embarrassed by you, they’re embarrassed to be with you.
For middle schoolers, separating from parents and aligning with peers is a developmental imperative. If your seventh-grade daughter is at a football game with her eighth-grade friends and you show up, she probably won’t invite you to sit with them. It’s not that there’s something inherently embarrassing about you, it’s that she wants to appear mature and independent. Don’t confuse this standoffish behavior for lack of interest in you. Your child is watching your every move, observing how you practice self-care, handle setbacks, cope with stress, pick friends, and treat others. This isn’t a time to back off—in fact, it’s the perfect time to double down on modeling values, because middle schoolers are intellectually capable and impressionable.

They do want to talk, as long as you abide by the following 4,024 rules.
How you engage your child is just as important as what you say. If the conversation feels too personal, they’ll feel over-exposed and shut down. Try manufacturing emotional distance. You can broach love or friendship issues by analyzing characters in a movie, show or book, or by dissecting a relationship advice column, or by asking about their friends’ experiences. If you talk about topics such as underage drinking, drugs or sex, bring them up in the context of a current news story. Some kids find it easier to talk when eye contact is optional, such as in the car. Avoid prying, open-ended questions unless safety is at stake, and respect that their crush is their business. Take the same approach with problem-solving. If your kid is stuck, ask them how they’d advise a friend. Or try visual imagery and take them on a magic carpet ride. Ask them if they have a different take on their situation from their vantage point in the sky. 

They’re not trying to push your buttons. 
Your child is likely to test boundaries in middle school, whether they lie, cheat, spearhead a hurtful group chat, get in a physical fight, skip school, or vape in the bathroom. None of that means they’re a bad person, but something could be getting in their way. Determine the root cause of their behavior so you can target the right solution. Are they unhappy with their status in the social hierarchy? Need extra help in school? Struggle with attentional issues? Feel overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed? Want to fit in? Be clear that you can handle the truth. Your child won’t burden you with their insecurities if they sense you’re not at your peak. On the flip side, don’t despair if they battle you over everything. They’re not pushing your buttons for sport. It may feel counterintuitive, but arguing is a sign that they respect your opinion and care what you think. 

They’re an enigma to themselves, too.
Middle schoolers are a jumble of contradictions and inconsistencies. They can be sullen at home but delightful with teachers. They can be risk-takers on the athletic field but cautious in class. The same kid who asks you to read to them on Monday might ask you to get out of their life (and their room) on Tuesday. I know it’s tough, but try to be the eye of their storm. Stay consistent, accepting, and loving as they do the hard work of figuring out who they are and who they hope to become. They’re already feeling tremendous pressure to conform, so celebrate what makes them different, focus on their strengths, and remind them that every middle schooler on the planet is working on something. 

Important Dates

Tuesday March 26- 7 p.m.-Rising 9th grade parent information session at Gresham Chapel
Tuesday-Thursday, March 26-28- CPT5 (ERB) Testing
Wednesday, April 10- 7 p.m.- Rising 7th grade parent meeting at Richardson Theatre
Thursday, April 11- 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.- Rising 8th grade parent meeting at Gresham Chapel

Dear 8th grade parents,

On March 26, the Upper School administration and department chairs will host an informational session with parents of current 8th graders. This meeting is intended to give families valuable information and insight as our rising 9th graders begin the process of scheduling courses for next year. Listed below is more specific information about this meeting: 

Learning Support Meeting:  6 p.m. in Gresham Chapel Activity Room

  • This meeting is appropriate only for parents whose students currently receive academic accommodations in the Middle School. This meeting will be led by the Academic Dean, US Accommodations Coordinator, and the Director of the Learning Center. Topics to be discussed include Learning Support courses, reading courses, the Learning Support Center, accommodations policies, and accommodations for standardized testing.

Rising 9th grade parent meeting: 7 p.m. in Gresham Chapel

  • All parents of current 8th graders are encouraged to attend this informational meeting. This meeting will be led by the Upper School principal and assistant principal. Topics to be covered include making the transition from Middle School to Upper School, scheduling of courses for 9th grade, Upper School academic policies and procedures, and co-curricular opportunities. At the conclusion of the presentation, Upper School department chairs and the Upper School counseling office will be on hand to answer specific questions.

We hope that you all will join us for this important meeting on March 26.  We look forward to meeting with you, working with your students, and partnering with you for the exciting four-year journey that is high school.

LGPE- Band


Congrats to our MS Advanced and Cadet Bands for a fantastic job both in their performance and in their focus and behavior throughout the day. Cadet Band was honored with Excellent ratings on stage and Superior ratings on Sight reading while the Advanced Band earned straight Superior ratings (the highest rating) both in their performance and in Sight Reading! We are so proud!

Costa Rican Adventure, Summer 2020

We are excited to announce an amazing travel opportunity for rising 7th and 8th grade students. Join us on an 8-day Costa Rican Adventure June 8-15, 2020. This trip is packed with adventure, cultural connections, and language immersion. Cultural highlights include a visit to Jauri Tropical Farm, where students will learn about the planting & harvesting of native produce, process sugar cane, and make lunch with fresh, traditional ingredients. We will also trek with a Maleku guide through the Maleku Indigenous Reserve and learn ways the tribe interacts with the ecosystem. Adventure also awaits, as we will swim in volcanic hot springs, hike, take a river & lake boat tour, and enjoy the sun & surf of white, pristine beaches.

For more information & to register early, please visit the Trip Site. Early registration ends April 1, 2019. As these trips are highly anticipated, we encourage you to reserve your spot ASAP.

Contact Alisha White (MS World Language teacher) if you have any questions.

WAMS Europe Trip 2020: France & Ireland

All 7th graders interested in traveling to Europe-REGISTRATION DEADLINE is TUESDAY MARCH 26, 2019 --less than two weeks away. Students who turn in their registration forms and fees by 3/26 get a special discount!
Next year during spring break we will travel on our 19th annual Europe Trip for students.  We will fly into Shannon and start our journey in Killarney, visit the Ring of Kerry, the Blarney Castle, experience Irish music and dancing, and visit Dublin including Trinity College.  We will then fly to Paris, France to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, visit Notre Dame and Sacré Coeur, Le Louvre and the Musée D'Orsay. We have a boat ride on the Seine River panned and of course shopping on the Champs Élysées.

If you are interested in getting more information--please come pick up an interest letter in room 205 or have your parent e-mail patricia.osullivan@woodward.edu for a registration folder. 

Counselor Corner

Next week we will be administering the CPT5 (ERB) standardized test to both the 7th and 8th grades.  Testing will be on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  We ask that parents avoid scheduling any foreseeable absences for those days; for students who are unavoidably absent, there will be makeup tests offered throughout the week and into the following week.  Regular classes will meet on an alternate schedule, however, no class tests will be given on test days.  A schedule of those days is available at the following link: WAMS Test Day Schedules March 26-28, 2019. 

The CPT5 testing will cover the following areas: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, Writing Mechanics, Writing Concepts and Schools, and Mathematics.  All tests are administered via student iPads through a secure app and all questions formats are multiple choice.

There is no method of studying for the ERB5, rather it is constructed to explore a student’s understanding and application of their cumulative experience within the aforementioned content areas.  We do encourage all students to get a good night’s sleep prior to each test day and to eat a good breakfast in the morning before arriving at school.  During our advisory sessions on Monday morning, we will explore some general test-taking strategies to help prepare students for this testing format and give them as many tools and resources as we can to help them feel confident as they begin their testing.  Additional information about those WAM objectives can be found at the following link: Parent WAM Information: CPT5 (ERB) Preparation

The results of the CPT5 will be mailed to you in April along with information about understanding and interpreting your child’s overall scores.  You will also receive detailed information about how your child performed in each subcategory.  We encourage parents to utilize this information as a way to identify student strengths as well as opportunities for growth.  Additional information about how to interpret your child’s score report one it is received can be found at the following link: Parent Guide to the CPT5 Score Report

Standardized testing is only a snapshot of how a student performed on a specific test on a given day; it is not necessarily a reflection of that student’s complete abilities or aptitudes.  We know that there are so many more elements to our students’ success and achievements, and as such we use the results of standardized testing only as one data point to help us in evaluating future class placement.  The primary considerations for next year’s class placement will be class grades throughout the year and teacher recommendations.  The CPT5 scores are only the final consideration when teachers are making their recommendations.

If you have any additional questions or concerns about the CPT5 please contact your grade level counselor and we will be happy to speak with you at your convenience!

Meredith Draper, 8th Grade Counselor

Naima Williams, 7th Grade Counselor

What’s WAM?

Next week, in our Weekly Advisory Meeting, our groups will discuss how to best prepare for standardized test taking as we gear up for the CPT5/ERBs later in the week.  Check out some of the best strategies we will present in the Parent WAM Information: ERB Preparation.

World Challenge- Save the Date!

Woodward Academy is partnering with World Challenge and other organizations to present an Atlanta Forum on our campus on Wednesday, April 3 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. During the event, we will have different experts who will be discussing how ethical issues are shaping the way students and schools engage with overseas trips.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Stéphane Allagnon or Ronda Zents.

WAMS Parent Social, April 4

Please join other Woodward Academy Middle School parents for the WAMS Parent Social at Mellow Mushroom in College Park on Thursday, April 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. Appetizers, salads and pizza will be provided. Cash bar. Parents only for this evening of food and fun! RSVP to Cristina Anderson.

2019-2020 Host Families Needed

Have you considered becoming a host family for a Middle or Upper School international student during the 2019-2020 school year? Our program has grown over the last three years from hosting fewer than 10 students on campus to next year when we will welcome 30 new and returning international students to Woodward Academy. 

These students live with host families who provide them with a “home-away-from-home,” and in turn the host families are enriched by the cultural exchange and the relationships developed in sharing their homes with our international students. As more and more international families seek out Woodward’s exemplary education, we have an increased need for host families.

If you are interested in hosting a student, please attend one of the informational sessions below to learn more:

  • Wednesday, April 24 - 10-11 a.m.
  • Thursday, April 25 - 3:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 30 - 8-9 a.m.
  • Tuesday, April 30 - 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Topics will include host family requirements, expectations, benefits, and stipends. Additionally, current and former host families will be in attendance to share more about their experiences firsthand. All of the informational sessions will be held in the Global Connections Center, in Brand Hall (B104), on Main Campus (No. 12 on the Campus Map). 

Please register here to attend a host family informational session.

If you have additional questions before the meetings, please contact me at stephane.allagnon@woodward.edu. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of hosting a student next year.

Infinity Mirrors Photos Request

Did you take pictures visiting the Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the High Museum? Please forward shots of your children at the exhibit to wastpress@woodward.edu for use in the 2019 Phoenix yearbook.

Purchase Yearbook 

Purchase the 2019 Phoenix yearbook before May by clicking here. The price is now $90.

Jock Journal


Congratulations to the Middle School soccer team for a big win over Inman MS on Friday, 4-0!  Allie Tonneson led the team with two goals and an assist.  Lexi Twiss added a goal and assist and Brenna Depoe and Hannah Ackerman had a goal and assist respectively.   Sara Beth Couch earned the clean sheet for the match.

Congratulations to the 8th grade soccer team for a big win over Westminster yesterday 1-0.  Trinity Knox clinched the win with a save on a PK, earning the clean sheet!


The team defeated Macon Academy 4-0!

#1 singles
Krish Kadam won 8-4

#1 Eshan Bhimani/Fawzi Kabakibou won 8-2
#2 Jack Merrill/Aakash Patel won 8-0
#3 Vishnu Madichetty/Rishi Agrawal won 8-1

Riflery Team 

A Middle School introduction to our varsity riflery program will be offered April 30, May 1, and May 2 from 4-5:45 p.m. Please plan to attend all three days. If you have any questions, please email or see Ms. Jefferson in room 315.

Middle School Clubs

MS clubs began meeting in early September. Download the full list of our many clubs and their descriptions HERE.

Eagle Club: Thank you to the many homerooms who turned in BIG money to support our sister school in Terranova. The Eagle Club appreciates your contributions to this worthy cause!     
Bandrowski: $45
Crawford: $5.00
Goodman: $51.00
Hildebrand:  $10.00
Hill: $17.69
Listenbee: $10.00
Makkers: $16.72
Marshall: $65.35
McNeill: $45.00
M. Mousadis: $15.00
Owens: $10.17
Parker: $20.00
Parsons: $20
Tatum: $75.00
Trotter: $15.00
Wade: $10.00
Stratton: $55.00

Chaplain's Corner

Greetings Woodward Academy Community,

March is an exciting month for religious life at Woodward Academy. Students of various traditions will be celebrating special holidays or participating in times of quiet spiritual reflection. As we share about these holy times, Chaplain’s Council student leaders will be hosting assemblies and announcements throughout campus on Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Holi. Many Upper School students will also travel on the Interfaith Immersion trip as we visit 6 religious sites throughout Atlanta.

Throughout the month of March, students in our community will observe the following:

  • March 5 (Christianity) - Shrove Tuesday ends the season of Epiphany and is the vigil for the starting of Lent.
  • March 6 (Christianity) - Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period of prayer and repentance that precedes Easter.
  • March 14 (Sikhism) - Sikh New Year’s Day marks the beginning of the year 550 of the Nanakshahi Era.
  • March 21 (Hinduism) - Holi welcomes Spring with this special festival of colors.
  • March 21 (Judaism) - Purim celebrates victory over an oppressive ruler, as related in the Book of Esther.

Please feel free to visit our Interfaith Initiatives page to see the times of all interfaith prayer opportunities or to share a prayer request.


Chaplain K
Rev. Katie O. Kilpatrick, Academy Chaplain
404-391-7589, chaplain@woodward.edu

Check out the Parent Community Website!

Whether you’re looking to volunteer or wondering when the next Parent Community event is, you can now find it all on the Parent Community website: www.woodward.edu/parentcommunity. Please be sure to check it regularly for details as we plan to update it weekly. You can also follow us on Facebook @WAParentCommunity. 


Use voucher code "WAlive1819" here to activate your account so you can watch live Woodward sporting events, performances, and more throughout the school year.

Transportation Services Info

As a growing number of our students use services such as Uber, Lyft, taxis, private car services, and other similar means of transportation, please note that these forms of transportation are not sanctioned by Woodward Academy, and as such, patronage is at parental discretion.

Share Your Child's Achievements

Woodward's Marketing & Communications office is looking for news and stories from around the Academy! If your child has received a special honor, award, or has recently achieved something noteworthy, please email the team at marcom@woodward.edu. You are encouraged to send photos to accompany your stories as well.

Stories are used to update Our Latest News, content for the Academy's blog Beyond the Gate, press releases for the media, and posts on Woodward's social media pages. And be sure to follow @WoodwardAcademy on Twitter and Instagram, too!

I Wonder...

Have you ever wondered about any of your child's Woodward Academy experiences? Have you had any ideas or comments you wanted to share but no idea where to send them? We've created an “I Wonder” form in the Parent Portal to provide you with an opportunity to stay engaged throughout the year, rather than just at parent meetings. We invite you to share thoughts, reflections, and questions. Input can be anonymous, or you can include your email address if you would like a reply.

This “I Wonder” form is intended for questions/comments about the Academy as a whole. Please continue to consult your child’s teacher if you have a question or comment about your child’s specific class.

MS Upcoming Events