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Jon & Carrie's Rooms (Middle School)

Jon's Update 1-14-19

posted Jan 15, 2019, 9:20 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Thank you! 

On Thu, Jan 10, 2019 at 8:49 AM Jon Labrousse <> wrote:
Tues: 1/8:                          Term 3 (Second Trimester) Begins
Fri, 1/11:                           Trimester 1 Report Cards Sent Home with Students
Fri, 1/18, 5-5:45pm         TRUE Performs at the Home and Garden Show, Lane County Fairgrounds
Thurs, 1/24, 6:30pm         Middle School Information Session
Friday, 1/25, 6-8pm          Ridgeline Talent Show
Jan-28-Feb 14                   Planned Parenthood Teaches Health and Human Relations
Thurs-Fri, 1/31-2/1          NO SCHOOL: Optional Conferences
Fri. 2/15                             Term 3 Ends
Thurs, May 16                  Field Trip: Canopy Connections and Tree2Tree

Please add the Ridgeline Middle School Calendar to your Google Calendars!

Dear Middle School Family,

We're back! The students dove right into action on Tuesday morning, getting started on our US History Projects spanning from 1865 to 1990! We've broken the timeline into 25 year periods. The students will be working in groups of five to put together an overview of the most important People, Events, Innovations, Cultural Changes, and Policies in US History during those years. 

The tasks are being broken into very manageable individual chunks, and each student has clearly defined roles and individual responsibilities to complete their part of the project.

Jupiter Ed, Instructions, and Grading
All of the instructions, including details for how each assignment will be evaluated, for each step of the way are clearly laid out in Jupiter Ed. The links to all the documents they need can be found there, as well.

Maizzy or I conference with every student, one on one, for nearly every assignment they complete in Communications and Humanities. We give them feedback and support, and the students have the opportunity to put the feedback to use and make changes to improve their grades. 

In order to take full advantage of our support, it's important that students stay on top of their work, and get things done in a timely manner, so they can conference with us before the deadline.We check in with students frequently throughout the process, and do our best to support students early in the process, as well. Please encourage your student to advocate for themselves and seek our support early on!

Health Guests: Planned Parenthood and Cahoots
Starting January 28, a teacher from Planned Parenthood will be coming in to teach the mandatory annual lessons on human health and development. Additionally, we have guests coming in from Cahoots to discuss mental and emotional health, and self-care. We'll be wrapping up this important health unit on February 14. Please contact Jon or Carrie if you have any questions.

We have a second batch of conferences scheduled for Thursday, January 31, and Friday, February 1. These conferences are not mandatory. We would like to reserve these 30 minute conferences for families who have specific concerns they would like to discuss with Jon or Carrie. If you would like to meet with both Jon AND Carrie, please sign up for the same slot with both of them. 

We will be reaching out to some families to request that they sign up to meet with us. If you feel that things are going smoothly, please enjoy the long weekend, and leave the slots for someone else. Please remember: Jon and Carrie will make time to meet with you throughout the school year; you don't have to wait for conferences. Please just send us an e-mail.

Intent to Return & Sibling Enrollment

It’s lottery season and we need to know your plans for the next school year.  Thursday morning you received an important “Intent to Return” email with links. Please read it thoroughly and complete the Intent to Return by January 18.  In order to qualify for sibling preference, you must complete the online enrollment application for any incoming sibling by January 31 (we encourage you to complete this as soon as possible).  Contact Jen Hackstadt if you did not receive the “Intent to Return” email.

Take care,
Jon and Maizzy

Jon's Update 12-7-18

posted Dec 7, 2018, 11:45 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Sun, 12/9, 4:50pm: TRUE Performs at City of Eugene International Human Rights Day, Churchill High School
Fri, 12/21, 8:30am: All-School Sing-Along Assembly
Fri, 12/21: Last Day of Term 2--End of First Trimester
Mon, 12/24-Mon, 1/7: NO SCHOOL: Winter Break
Tues: 1/8: School Resumes
Tues: 1/8: Term 3 (Second Trimester) Begins

Please add the Ridgeline Middle School Calendar to your Google Calendars!

Dear Middle School Family,

As we wind down into the winter holiday season, the flow of our work sessions is becoming more steady and routine. We just finished up the excellent PBS Documentary about the Reconstruction Era following the American Civil War. It's been a long, deep immersion into the impacts of the institution of slavery not just on African American history, but on American history, period, and our identity as a nation. 

In the next couple of weeks before winter break, we will carry on with our Article of the Week, written response assignments. The students are making impressive progress with their writing skills. The Article of the Week will continue on as a regular assignment through the school year, and will continue to expand as the students achieve greater levels of mastery.

Over the next two weeks, we will also watch the rest of "America The Story of Us," rushing through a very biased perspective of US History from the transcontinental railroad to the modern day. Our focus will be on questioning the perspectives offered on historical events. When we get back from Winter Break, students will start work on projects to seek out and share untold narratives to help us understand the whole story.

Jupiter Ed and Missing Assignments
We are at a point in the year where we're tightening up our grading process. We are currently very caught up with our grading. Please log in to Jupiter Ed and see how your student is doing at keeping up with their work. If your student has excess missing assignments, and they haven't been sick for a long stretch of time, now would be a good time to talk with them about how they are using their class time to get work done. If you have any concerns or questions, please contact Jon, and let's set up a meeting soon, or soon after we get back from Winter Break to come up with some strategies to help support your child's success in school.

Electives Volunteer Opportunity!
We'll be changing up Electives after Winter Break. This is a really fun volunteer opportunity if you have some consistent flexibility in your daily schedule. We teach Electives on Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday from 1:25-2:10pm, or on Fridays from 11:20am-1:05pm. The commitment is from when we get back in January until Spring Break. You must be able to commit to come every week. We don't have subs for Electives.

We're going to sign up for Electives the week before Winter Break, so please let me know if you would like to lead one. Yoga, Computer Programming, Sewing, Knitting, Juggling... If you love doing something, please share it with our students!

All-School Sing-Along Assembly
Small teams of 8th graders have been going into every other classroom at Ridgeline each week to help teach and motivate the whole school to participate in the All-School Sing-Along Assembly first thing on Friday morning, at 8:30am on December 21. It's going to be a hoot! 

Jon and Maizzy

Ridgeline Middle School STEM News 11/29

posted Dec 5, 2018, 11:47 AM by Cynthia Friedman

School Updates

Student Marketplace December 8! - Please join us between 10am-1pm and invite your friends and families!  This was such a fabulous event last year! Come see the creative items our students have made and support their entrepreneurial and fundraising efforts!

Trash Around Campus– We have noticed quite a bit of random garbage around campus. Please remind students to place their trash in the garbage cans and take care of our campus.


Powerful Message– I encourage you to take 15 minutes to watch the video "A Time to Listen" from The Promise of Oregon.  There is also a shorter version but I think the full video is well worth the time.  It provides a powerful message regarding the state of school funding in Oregon.  And we are providing high-quality public Montessori education with 80% of the funding (plus community support through fundraising and volunteerism).  Imagine what we could do if all public schools in Oregon were fully and adequately funded!

Help School Stay Healthy!– “Frequent and effective hand washing is the primary prevention measure against the spread of communicable disease.” Please encourage hand washing and inform your students what they should do if they feel bad/sick when they are at school. They should NOT sign themselves out to use the restroom, get sick and then go to the office on their own. Students (not feeling well) should inform their teacher, and go to the office with a trash can (they are to use it if they vomit). Assistants, will spray virustat on the tables and chairs after school each day.



We wrapped up our section answering the question:  How do oceans affect weather and climate? Written below is an answer to this question based on a class consensus process. Each table group first came up with their best answer to this question, then as a class, we chose one to start with, edited, improved, and crafted it using ideas from all groups to make this final answer.  

How do oceans affect weather and climate?

Oceans have an enormous effect on weather and climate. Water covers over 70 percent of Earth's surface, and is efficient at absorbing energy from the Sun through radiation. The oceans act as a storage place for thermal energy, because water has a high heat capacity. Heat capacity, upwelling and sea breezes are some of the ways the oceans affect the earth's temperature.  That enables it to easily heat or cool the earth's climate. Upwelling is when cold currents from the deep ocean hit a landmass, move to the surface, and cool the local land temperature through sea breezes. Sea breezes are another way that oceans bring different temperatures to the land. When the sea breezes are blowing in the same direction as global winds, then they have more power so they have a larger effect on the lands temperature.

One other factor in climate and weather change is the Global Ocean Conveyor Belt. The Global Ocean Conveyor Belt affects weather by transferring water throughout the oceans through conduction, convection. This conveyor belt is so big that it would take one drop of water 1000 years to travel the whole conveyor belt. Warm water gets transferred from the equator up to the Polar regions, and cold water from the Polar regions gets transferred to the equator. This causes the weather near the equator to be cooler, and the weather towards the North and South Poles to not be as cold as it would be otherwise.  These are some of the ways that oceans control land and air temperatures.


All of your student’s assignments are accessible using the link sent home for Jupiter Grades access.  They do have math homework due every day Monday through Thursday of each week. Sometimes they will have homework due on Friday if we have a short week, or the group needs extra practice.  Please support your students in carving out time early in the afternoon to get their math homework finished. If a student is stuck on a problem, they are not to spend an undue amount of time struggling unproductively.  If they are truly stuck, they are to skip it, complete the assignment, and either come back to it later, or save it for going over in class. Odds are some other student(s) will be struggling with the same problem as well. I provide an opportunity to go over such problems before we check the assignment.

~ Carrie and India

Jon's Bi-weekly Update 11-16-18

posted Nov 19, 2018, 12:34 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Dear Middle School Family,

Thanks to all of you who participated in Family Conferences. It's always a pleasure to connect with families and sit around the table together to talk about how things are going. Please don't hesitate to contact Carrie or myself if you have questions, concerns, of if you'd just like to check in. We're happy to schedule time to meet and talk. We're in this together!

The last two weeks have been pretty heavy in the back of Building B. While I was preparing to dive into the Reconstruction era following the US Civil War, I realized our students simply didn't have a deep enough understanding of the Reality of slavery in the birth and construction of the United States. 

We spent the two weeks up to parent conferences watching the first couple of episodes of the original Roots series from the 1970s. It's one of the most chilling, yet safe, introductions to the horrors of American Slavery that I've seen. Slavery is an institution that half the country at the time was willing to kill other Americans (and risk being killed) to maintain. An entire culture was built on the framework of institutionalized racism and cruelty. The South fought for their right to enslave Black people, and only Black people, with their lives.

Think about that reality for a second.

When the Civil War ended, and the Union remained intact, the culture of hatred did not simply evaporate into goodwill and new-found united patriotism. Quite the contrary. A whole new (legalized) system of racism and oppression was established nation-wide, and continues to evolve to this day, despite the progress we feel like we've made. 

We still have a lot of progress to make as a Nation 'for the People, by the People' if we're going to get anywhere near achieving "Liberty and Justice for All." We the People have a lot of work to do. Work is where we're headed as a middle school community. We're going to continue our study of who we are as a Nation, as a hopeful work in progress. 

Come Spring, we will engage in Service Learning Projects in our local community to exercise our civic duty in service of the Greater Good, to support our positive evolution as a Nation. It's good, important work. It's what progress looks like.

Holy sentence structure, Batman! We have been deeply workshopping, in small groups and as a whole class, how to write a Powerful Assertion. A Powerful Assertion is the spring the slender creek of sentences flows from to carve a Meaningful Paragraph.

The process we've been engaging in has been sincerely enlightening for me. Using the Article of the Week, the students start by writing what they think is the Powerful Assertion the AOW is making. Then they work in their table-groups to choose and revise one Best Sentence. Then each group writes their Best Sentence on the whiteboard and as a class, we revise their collective attempts into the most Powerful Assertion we can come up with. Then we strategize how to complete the paragraph based on the Powerful Assertion we've come up with, so they can complete it on their own. 

The strategic process I'm leading our students through for writing Meaningful Paragraphs is time-consuming. And absolutely invaluable. Together, the students are internalizing the editorial decisions that every writer has to make to write well. Soon, I'll be able to step back from the process for most of the students, and will still be able to work with smaller groups of folks who need more guidance through the process.

The students are already making leaps and bounds with their writing.

Electives Volunteer Opportunity!
We'll be changing up Electives after Winter Break. This is a really fun volunteer opportunity if you have some consistent flexibility in your daily schedule. We teach Electives on Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday from 1:25-2:10pm, or on Fridays from 11:20am-1:05pm. The commitment is from when we get back in January until Spring Break. You must be able to commit to come every week. We don't have subs for Electives.

We're going to sign up for Electives the week for Winter Break, so please let me know if you would like to lead one. Yoga, Computer Programming, Sewing, Knitting, Juggling... If you love doing something, please share it with our students!

Maizzy and I love the work we get to do. Thank you for sharing your children with us. We grow together!

Jon and Maizzy

Ridgeline Middle School STEM News 10/24

posted Oct 25, 2018, 1:53 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Schoolwide Announcements

Lifetouch Picture Day –  Ridgeline’s Picture Day was Wednesday, October 24. Lifetouch order forms were sent home last week. If you didn’t get them in on time, you may still order photos online at Lifetouch. If your child missed picture day, retakes will be on Wednesday, November 28.


MOD Pizza - Our first restaurant fundraiser of the school year is coming up on Monday, October 29th. Bring in the flier (attached in your recent Ridgeline e-news) and MOD Pizza will donate 20% of your purchase to Ridgeline.

Family Conferences - Family Conferences are Thursday, November 8 and Friday, November 9th! We are excited to connect with you regarding your student’s progress.  Ridgeline highly recommends student attendance and participation during conferences. We also acknowledge that some conversations are best to have without the student present. Conferences will begin promptly with whomever is present and end at the scheduled time. Click HERE to sign up.  These are no school days.


Science - We have been investigating the relative heat capacity of water compared to land, reflection vs absorption of electromagnetic energy, and the processes of conduction, convection, and radiation. All this, in preparation to understand the processes driving Earth’s weather systems. The Project Based Inquiry Science textbook we are using in class is available digitally via the link provided in the Resources section at the end of this email.

Reflection Questions from this section:

Why is air over land warmer in the day than air over water?

-Students should refer to how water’s high heat capacity causes it to heat up and cool down more slowly than land.  

Which reflects more sunlight-dark soil or white sand? Green grass or a blacktop street? Why?

-How are conduction, convection alike? How are they different?

How does conduction transfer energy from hot substances to cold substances?

Math -  New students are adjusting well to our classroom math practices.  They are working well together in groups to solve problems and communicate their reasoning.  They are approaching concepts from many directions and in many ways in order to gain understanding of what they are actually manipulating when using math symbols to represent processes.  It is a joy to watch them gain understanding, and engage deeply with math processes. In order to understand and better support your student working in the CPM textbook, the “CPM Parent Support” link has been provided for you below.  

Warm Regards,

Carrie and India


Weather Watch Student Edition Digital Textbook

CPM Parent Support

Jon's Bi-weekly Update 10-24-18

posted Oct 24, 2018, 10:00 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Thurs-Fri, 11/8-11/9: NO SCHOOL! (Please Sign up for Conferences)
Mon, 11/12: NO SCHOOL: Veteran's Day
Fri, 11/16, 6pm: Barnes and Noble Bookfair
Tues, 11/20: Bring Veggies for Stone Soup
Wed, 11/21: Bring Bowl and Spoon for Stone Soup
Thurs-Fri, 11/22-11/23: NO SCHOOL: Thanksgiving
Mon, 12/24-Mon, 1/7: NO SCHOOL: Winter Break
Tues: 1/8: School Resumes

Please add the Ridgeline Middle School Calendar to your Google Calendars!

Dear Middle School Family,

Students are wrapping up the scripts for the US History presentations early this week, and will be presenting to the class starting on Wednesday, October 24. Maizzy and I have been busy helping the students condense and edit what they've learned into clear, engaging scripts. We're proud of the effort they've put into these projects. It really shows.

Next week, we'll move forward into the Reconstruction Era (post Civil War, post Slavery), and on into the present. Once we have the context of how the United States has grown into being, we'll move into learning more about the work in progress that is our system of government. We have a lot of exciting work ahead of us!

Family Conferences
Please note that Family Conferences are on November 8th and 9th this year. There is no school on those days. It's a little different for Middle School than with the other grades, since Carrie and I both teach your student. You will schedule a conference with just one of us: your student's homeroom teacher. Your student's homeroom is where they eat their lunch. If you are not sure which teacher to schedule your conference with, just ask your student whose classroom they eat their lunch in.  Here's the link to sign up:

Please be sure to bring your student to the conference!

If you would like to talk about class-specific concerns, please don't hesitate to contact Carrie for Math/Science, or Jon for Communications/Humanities. We'd be happy to set up a time to meet.

Take care,
Jon and Maizzy

Jon's Weekly Update 10-11-18

posted Oct 11, 2018, 1:16 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Fri, 10/12: NO SCHOOL! (Statewide Teacher In-Service Day)
Wed, 10/24: Picture Day
Thurs-Fri, 11/8-11/9: NO SCHOOL! (Please Sign up for Conferences)
Mon, 11/12: NO SCHOOL: Veteran's Day
Fri, 11/16, 6pm: Barnes and Noble Bookfair
Tues, 11/20: Bring Veggies for Stone Soup
Wed, 11/21: Bring Bowl and Spoon for Stone Soup
Thurs-Fri, 11/22-11/23: NO SCHOOL: Thanksgiving
Mon, 12/24-Mon, 1/7: NO SCHOOL: Winter Break
Tues: 1/8: School Resumes

Please add the Ridgeline Middle School Calendar to your Google Calendars!

Dear Middle School Family,

The Warm-Up Term is over. And we're still warming up! The First official Term of 2018-19 started this Monday. For those of you who were not with us last year, and don't yet have access to Jupiter Ed, I'll be sending out a link with your password shortly after you receive this e-mail.

Jupiter Ed is the online grading system we use to manage and track all of your students' school work. Instructions and due dates are available in Jupiter Ed, and we do our best to keep up to date with our grading, so you should have a pretty accurate, current idea about what your student is doing (or struggling to complete) at school.

This week, we started our US History projects, covering the time span from the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 to the end of the Civil War in 1865. During the previous two weeks, we watched the first six episodes of the A&E "documentary," "America: The Story of Us." 

I want to note right off the bat that the series is not as fully representative of all our stories as I would like. That said, it has given us some really important opportunities to discuss whose stories aren't being told. It's also been a very useful example of a biased narrative.

The students' projects will dig more deeply into a specific story in US History during this timeframe. From slavery on  cotton plantations, to the Trail of Tears, to the transcontinental railroad, to the Louisiana Purchase, to the Oregon Trail, the students are covering a lot of ground, and will fill in many of the holes that the documentary skipped over or sped through.

Students will be wrapping up their research by the middle of next week, and will begin putting together their presentations to share with the class hopefully by October 24. Maizzy and I are working closely with each student every step of the way. We're introducing a whole new way of thinking about information, and what to make of it. It's pretty exciting stuff.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Jon and Maizzy

Ridgeline Middle School STEM News 10/12

posted Oct 11, 2018, 12:56 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Schoolwide Announcements


Montessori Parent Education Night, Thursday, October 11 at 6:00

In this interactive workshop, families will learn about Dr. Montessori's Planes of Development. After a short presentation Dr. Casquejo Johnston, will facilitate a discussion/workshop.  Families will leave the workshop with an understanding of the planes of development, how they can support their children and practical strategies and supports to build a Montessori home.

Dr. Casquejo Johnston is the Program Director for the Montessori Teacher Education Program at Saint Mary's College of California which offers both and Early Childhood and an Lower Elementary/Upper Elementary credential.  She has experience every facet of Montessori life - student, parent, lower elementary guide, director(principal) and now program director. Her greatest joy has been raising her children in the Montessori way and watching them become thoughtful, purposeful young adults.  Sofia is in her second year of a masters program in counseling focusing on college student services and Ben is a junior in the sport business program at University of Oregon...Go Ducks!


You may have noticed that this year you are receiving a lot more communication regarding the importance of regular attendance.  This year we are beginning an attendance awareness campaign designed to increase awareness, educate, and ultimately improve student attendance at Ridgeline.  Good attendance is strongly linked to academic, social, and emotional success.

We believe that students and families that feel they are included in the school community are more likely to show up consistently

We believe that good attendance will allow your child to fully contribute to and fully benefit from the classroom community.  

We believe good attendance will not only build strong academics but also build strong socially and emotionally capable humans.

Thank you for learning and growing with us!


Science -

We are currently focusing our attentions on weather patterns in our investigations about how the earth and its organisms change over time.  This week we ask the question “Why are temperatures different near the coast and inland? In order to learn more about this phenomena we conducted a lab in which we compared the heating and cooling of sand and water over a span of time.  We analyzed our data, decided what was important, how to interpret it, if our results agreed with the body of research, and if our results were reliable. The answer was no to the last two concerns, and so we redesigned the experiment and will repeat it next week.  

Math -

Please support your students in completing math homework in the afternoon when their brain is fresh.  If students are stuck on a problem, they are to skip it and ask for help in class when we review homework.  

Jupiter Grades

Opportunities to turn in assignments are provided by the middle school team on a daily basis. If a student has a  / in the gradebook, it means that the work is missing. If there is a marked absent (abs) in the gradebook, the student is to check in with an adult to discuss how to make up the assignment.  Math and science curriculum build. Each assignment addresses key concepts required to understand successive assignments. Missed assignments are to be made up by the end of the week unless agreed upon otherwise. Opportunities to turn in late work are offered daily before school, during break, lunch, during silent reading/study hall,  and after school.

We welcome questions and communications from parents.  As you sit down with your student to go over progress, help them craft questions on points of confusion and create positive plans for action. Send them to us with these questions and plans as much as possible.  Thus they have the opportunity to exercise initiative, independence and self-advocacy. Our program is a safe place to practice these essential skills.

Volunteer Opportunities


Thank you to the parents who volunteer on Fridays, so our students can pursue their interests all over campus. Thank you to those who volunteered to shop for cookie crew, do class laundry, and to Saeed Motahdi for making our gorgeous new classroom cubbies!!

You all make a big difference in our community!

Cheers to the return of rain, tea, and boot weather!

Carrie and India

Ridgeline Middle School STEM News 9/21

posted Sep 24, 2018, 12:09 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Welcome Middle School Family!

Welcome to our new and returning families! We are excited to dive into this school year!


You can see all upcoming events and their descriptions on the Middle School Google Calendar by clicking this link!

Please add the Ridgeline Middle School Calendar to your Google Calendars!


Math -

The first few weeks of the year are in the Warm Up Term in the Middle School Gradebook. Right now new students are using class time to familiarize themselves with our systems, expectations, and unique features of the CPM Math curriculum they will be using over the next two years. Specifically, our class work is focused on organized note taking, organization of math journal assignments, and lessons designed to facilitate deeper learning around fractions.  Students often know how to find an answer to a fraction problem but don’t always understand why it works, or what it represents. For homework, they are reviewing fractions by doing Pizzaz Pun Math. Students will have little time in class to do homework.Generally, there will be math homework due four days a week (Monday through Thursday). By Monday morning, Math assignments through the Following Tuesday are in Jupiter Grades.

It is often a challenge for 7th graders to adjust to the homework load. It takes them a while to get the hang of managing their homework in their personal time.  By the end of 8th grade, they will be juggling responsibilities that may seem daunting at this time. We believe in holding a bar for our students, and providing the tools, and the opportunities for them to rise to their potential.  It is an honor to see how much they evolve and mature over the two years we are working and playing together!

Science -  Our big question for the year is,  “How does the Earth (and the organisms that live on it) change over time?” Our class will use a Project Board to keep track of our learning.  As student scientists, they began with a brainstorm, “What do we think we know about this question?” To inspire our curiosity, we took notes as we watched National Geographic: The Story of Earth. Students then came up with questions inspired by the video.  As we conduct our investigations, we will revisit the project board to check in on our progressing understanding.

Our investigations began this week. We created a model and simulated the Earth’s orbit around the sun in order to develop our understanding of the reasons for seasons.

Sometimes student responses are less than specific when you ask them, “What did you learn in school?” Here are some questions and prompts you can use to spark your student's memory.

  • Rotation and revolution are two different movements a planet makes.

    • Describe the movement of Earth when it rotates.

    • Describe the movement of Earth when it revolves.

    • Which of these movements is responsible for the length of a day?

      • The Earth rotates once per day and revolves around the sun once per year (365.45 days).

  • What happens to the direction of Earth’s axis as Earth revolves around the Sun?

    • It remains pointed towards polaris (the North Star).

  • Why are temperatures different during different seasons?

  • In northern Alaska in June, the length of daylight can be 24 hours. In Florida, the length of daylight in June is about 13 ¾ hours. If the Sun is shining for so many more hours in Alaska, why is it generally warmer in Florida in June?

    • The light reaching Florida is very direct, while the light reaching Alaska is very indirect. The more direct the sunlight, the more concentrated the energy that can be absorbed.


Running - Rain or shine, Mondays and Wednesdays we will get out on the Amazon trail and get moving.  Walk, run, speed walk, whatever, but personal goal setting and improvement are required. Students are to start where they’re at and improve from there.  We meet up with our water bottles and spend the first five minutes stretching. Our warm up walk is between Ridgeline and the intersection of West Amazon and Fox Hollow. From there, we run laps on the Amazon trail between Fox Hollow and Snell, then cool down by walking back to Ridgeline where we stretch again and drink lots of water.  Students in the running elective are to bring running shoes, a water bottle, and a can-do attitude. Students are strongly encouraged to wear flexible clothing, sneakers, and bring a water bottle for this elective. Did I mention water bottles? :o)

Best Regards,

Carrie and India

Jon's Weekly Update 9-19-18

posted Sep 19, 2018, 10:43 AM by Cynthia Friedman


Please add the Ridgeline Middle School Calendar to your Google Calendars!

Dear Middle School Family,

It's been an amazing two weeks back to school. The students came back ready for action and game for anything. We spent the entire first week getting to know one another, and practicing and discussing the ways we want to work and live together as a learning community. 

It was fun time well spent.

We are quickly settling into our academic routines, and we're continuing to develop and strengthen our human relationships in this new academic community. Our 7th graders are coming from 3 different classrooms!

This year's Humanities curriculum will focus on US Government and History. In particular, we're going to focus on Civics and Civic responsibility. We're going to look at the US Government from the perspective of the Citizen: what are the privileges of US Citizenship? What are the responsibilities? How does a Citizen participate effectively and proactively in a government "for the People by the People?" What is is government, anyway? What does it do? What should it be doing?

From now until Winter Break (the first of three Trimesters), we'll be delving into our collective identity as a Nation: Who are we? We're starting with the middle school, spending a lot of intentional time getting to know one another better. Not just as individuals, but as members of different families with different cultural values and norms. 

This week, the students are creating "Personal Culture Posters," where they are exploring and sharing the traditions and practices that make them and their family unique. It's an opportunity acknowledge the commonalities we share, and to learn more about and honor the differences between us that make us truly valuable to each other's growth.

As we expand out in the coming weeks to explore the cultural and geographical landscape of the United States, as we seek to better understand who we are as a People, this groundwork is going to be especially valuable. When we can see and value the differences in our 'in group,' it will help support our ability to understand and respect the differences in communities and cultures that are outside our personal experience.

In the second term, up until Spring Break, we will start to look at the challenges our various regions and communities face around the United States, and examine the ways that Citizens and our government is responding to them. In the third, final term, we will explore ways that we, as Citizens, can take positive action in our local community to improve our quality of life. And we will take action with service projects out in our community.

Civic responsibility and action is only part of our learning adventure this year. Your student's days are going to be spent honing their communication skills in the English language and mathematics, as well as their ability to apply these tools to scientific reasoning and problem solving. We have a rich variety of Electives for the students to explore from term to term, as well, with options covering everything from Creative Writing, to Ukulele Performance, to Running and other physical expressions, to painting and crafting, to strategic and roleplaying games. 

In addition to PE twice a week, students will also be participating in a "Health and Real Life Skills" class where we'll be exploring topics like Mindfulness, Nutrition, Physical Fitness, and Emotionally Intelligent Communication.

It's going to be a fun-filled, deep-learning kind of year, filled with social action and self discovery. 

We're so grateful to be here. And we're so glad you're here.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions, or would like to participate more in the good work we're up to this year.

Jon and Maizzy

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