Spring 2019 Newsletter

Message from The Principal 
Exactly 100 years ago, this past November 11th marked the end of World War I in 1918.  The ending of the war also led to the planting of the roots which would eventually blossom into the International Baccalaureate (IB).  As Stemmers Run continues to embark on our journey into the implementation of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IB-MYP), it is important that we reflect on its founding principles that still hold relevance today.   IB Learner Profile
At the time, World War I was known simply as “The Great War,” and it was frequently referred to as the war to end all wars.  In response to the ending of this conflict, which resulted in an estimated 19 million people dead from 22 counties, the powers at the time recognized the need to do more in order to prevent future conflicts.  It was from this need that the League of Nations was founded in Geneva Switzerland, where a body of diplomats, representing over 50 countries of the world, could come together, to work on settling international disputes. With hundreds of diplomats and their families moving to Switzerland, there became a need to educate their children, and the International School of Geneva was founded.  The school’s primary focus was to pursue a mission to “educate for peace and to inculcate strong humanitarian values of inclusiveness, respect, and intercultural understanding.”  By the 1960’s, a group of teachers at the international school formed the first versions of what became the International Baccalaureate (IB) that we know today.  The mission of the IB is to “develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”  This mission still aligns today with the values that were so important to the first diplomats tasked with reducing global conflicts through the League of Nations following World War I.  Presently, the headquarters of IB is still located in Geneva, Switzerland, with just under 5,000 IB schools in 153 countries worldwide.  As we work to implement the rigorous and culturally relevant IB curriculum, Stemmers Run stands to become the first IB middle school in Baltimore County. 
Our implementation of IB is focused around the IB learner profile.  The IB learner profile consists of the following ten characteristics that we strive to strengthen within our students: caring, inquirers, risk-takers, principled, thinkers, open-minded, reflective, balanced, knowledgeable, and communicators.  Our curriculum builds in opportunities to highlight, promote, and teach these characteristics in our students, and we also give monthly awards to students who exemplify the characteristics of the learner profile.
Our classroom instruction focuses on the principles of IB by identifying a global context for learning, so that students not only understand the relevancy and purpose for their learning, but can apply it in their lives.  Every unit highlights the context and themes as it relates to IB through hands-on activities and learner centered approaches.  In addition to any county assessments, our IB units are assessed through performance and application-based activities, with a keen focus on keeping the learning relevant.  One additional way that the IB Middle Years curriculum is different from our county curriculum is the infusion of the Approaches to Learning (ATL) Skills.  The inclusion of ATL skills is rooted in the belief that in middle school the most important things that we can teach are skills – content is merely the vehicle with which we teach skills.  The result is that skills like communication, critical thinking, organization, and reflection, to name a few, are explicitly taught through the curriculum over the three years in our program.
 Listed in both the IB learner profile and specifically mentioned in the IB mission statement is the desire to develop students who are “caring.”  I would argue that this is perhaps the most important task of our mission, and, at times, the most challenging characteristic to develop among middle school students.  The IB MYP focuses on developing this characteristic among children through a commitment to service.  It is a requirement that every 8th grader participate in a service project of their own choice and creation.  Currently, we have carved out an hour each month of school time for 8th graders to work with project advisors in order to develop their service ideas and put a plan into action.  Students will be presenting these projects to their peers in April.   
I am extremely proud of what our community has done at Stemmers Run Middle School with the implementation of the IB MYP, and I believe that there are many intangible benefits to this program for our students and community beyond simply teaching and learning.  It is worth noting, however, that despite being founded based on similar principles to the IB, the League of Nations did not succeed in its mission of preventing future conflicts as WWII came only 19 years later.  The second world war resulted in over 20 million military deaths and over 30 million civilian deaths.  As a result, even more of the world committed to a body to promote diplomacy and settle global conflicts, leading to the creation of the United Nations here in New York City to replace the League of Nations and include three times as many member nations.  Today, the stakes are even higher, and the mission of the first international school to serve the children of diplomats “to educate for peace and to inculcate strong humanitarian values of inclusiveness, respect, and intercultural understanding,” is still relevant to making our world a better place.  As we strive to develop the next generation of leaders who are prepared to deal with the complicated challenges of tomorrow in a way that supports “humanitarian values” and promotes the good in people, I am honored to be a part of an International Baccalaureate Program; a program that is truly bigger than our school or even our school system, as it directly connects our students to the global community. 
Bryan Thanner - Principal of Stemmers Run Middle School 
Twitter @SRMS_Principal 

Stemmers Run Engineering Teachers Win Award for their Program

Our current eighth graders might not know it, but the successful Engineering by Design program here at Stemmers Run Middle was started from the ground up right around the same time they started in our school as sixth graders. In three short years, that program has become one of the most popular in the school, and people are taking notice. Teachers Nicole Boyd and James Hemming recently were honored with the Technology and Engineering Educators of Maryland (TEEAM) Program of Excellence Award.
  Engineering Teachers
Mr. Hemming said that he’s proud their program has moved so far so quickly. “We literally went form two empty classrooms to very well-stocked and equipped technology labs,” he said, adding that loving what he teaches has been just as important as the equipment. 

 “What I love about teaching engineering is that instead of teaching skills that are like a recipe, the goal of the program is that kids learn to problem solve. Kids take what they’ve learned in other classes like science, math, and language arts and apply them. We try to move from a skill being taught to working with skill application,” he said.  

Mrs. Boyd loves the learning that happens in her classes as well. “It targets the kids who like hands-on types of projects,” she said. “It really works well with group work, with giving them projects. Every kid doesn’t necessarily have to build. One student might be the builder, and one student might work on the management.” 
These projects are indeed the big focus of Engineering by Design. In sixth grade, students design and build a bridge. Through this project they learn civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, as well as technical drawing. In seventh grade, students focus on transportation systems. In one project students design a hovercraft, using items like small electrical motors, wires, and Styrofoam trays. In another project, they make a magnetic levitation device, which allows them to learn about electromagnets, as well as magnetic propulsion and attraction. 
Seventh grader Alex Jackson said he likes how open-ended these projects are. “They are very hands on. You have to build them yourself and use your own ideas. They aren’t copied off anything,” he said.  

In eighth grade, students in Mrs. Boyd’s class learn about autonomous programming of robots. They program robots to perform a specific task, such as when they program a robot to simulate delivering a package in a warehouse. Her students also learn how to design items and make them on a 3D printer. This year her students designed their own cellphone holders which they were able to print and keep. 
Eighth grader Ezzah Chaudhry said Mrs. Boyd’s class was one of her favorites. “There are lots of hands-on activities where we learn things on our own,” she said. “We get to have fun while learning. It’s not a bunch of sitting in your seat and doing papers. It’s more interactive and there’s teamwork.”  

Mrs. Boyd loves reactions like this, and has even noticed their program has caused some students to rethink their futures. “Since we’ve implemented the program, once the eighth graders start robotics, they learn what it is and discover they like coding. Some of them have changed their minds about magnet schools,” she said. 
Story by Jeff Flynn – Media Specialist of Stemmers Run Middle School 
Twitter @JeffFlynn75  

7th-Grade Magnet High School Visits

7th grade Pre-Algebra Teacher, Ms. Tynes, reflects on the Magnet Visits
 magnet school visits

This year our 7th graders made history by becoming the first 7th grade students to take magnet tours of BCPS high schools as prospective students! If students are interested in a magnet high school, the 7th grade year is the most crucial year for determining which magnet high school will accept them. Magnet schools look at everything from grades to behavior, and even performance in a specific field. The field trip was created to give our 7th graders an opportunity to visit prospective high schools that have magnet programs of their interest. The goal of these trips is to equip our 7th graders with information needed to apply to programs at schools that will help them pursue their passions and reach their career goals. At the beginning of the school year students were asked to complete a survey  regarding their level of interest in the programs offered at the schools we were visiting. The students were then invited to a specific field trip based on their program of interest. This was to help the students focus on the program and not just the high school itself. I often found myself having to explain to students that though they may have wanted to attend a specific school, that school didn’t necessarily have their program of interest. These conversations helped them to become more open – minded about seeing what other schools had to offer them. During these field trips our 7th graders are taken on tours by the high school students, given discussion time with the students, sit in on classes, and participate in various activities. Sometimes they even ate lunch in the cafeteria with the rest of the high school (which students really enjoyed). These magnet visits have been a great experience for not only the students but also the 7th grade team of teachers as well. We have been able to reference these trips as we remind our students that their grades and behavior can impact their future. I know that in my class I have seen a change in students’ behavior when I bring up the types of positive behavior they noticed from the high schoolers. They are quick to model the behavior that the high schoolers exhibited such as working together, staying on task, and being respectful of other’s opinions. The 7th grade team is grateful that these schools have worked hard to provide our students with a great and memorable experience.   

Here are the trips that our students attended:
1/16 - Patapsco High School  and Center for the Arts 
1/16 - Sollers Point  Technical High School 
3/8 - Chesapeake High School 
3/11 - Western School of Technology & Env Science 
3/20 - Eastern Technical  High School 

Survey results from the students who attended the visits:

93% felt that they gained an understanding of the type and amount of school work that is expected of them.  

93% felt that they gained more of a sense of whether they wished to attend the school they visited.  

84% are certain or somewhat certain that they wish to attend the school they visited.  

95% felt that this trip could benefit future 7th graders.  

On a scale from 1 – 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest, students rated this trip an average of 4.42 out of 5 stars.  
Anjelica Tynes - 7th Grade PreAlgebra Teacher

 Three SRMS MESA Teams Win First-Place in the County, and Spots at States

The Stemmers Run Middle School MESA team has earned three coveted spots to compete in the Maryland MESA State Competition on May 18, 2019 at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. The team is sponsored by Science Department Chair Susan Gottschalk.  MESA team
MESA is an after school educational program designed to encourage and prepare students for college majors and careers in mathematics, engineering, science, and related fields. Maryland MESA engages students through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) based project activities.
The Maryland MESA Regional Competition was held at Morgan State University on Friday, March 22nd. The winning teams participated in the National Engineering Design Competition (NEDC) – an Arduino based solution to a community problem; Interactive Game Design – Alice programming language; and Wearable Technology – Infant Respiration Rate Monitor. 
Student winners earning 1st place in each of the challenges: 
National Engineering Design Competition – Brandon B. and Gary L.  
Alice Interactive Game Design – Fatou S., Ashley E., Enioluwa A., and Cindy Z.  Wearable Technology – Blake B.  

Texas Instruments Brings Robots to Pre-Algebrarobots in math class
On March 6, 2019, Texas Instruments visited Ms. Jacobs’ 7th grade Pre-Algebra class in order to introduce her students to math related STEM activities using TI Calculators and their robots call “Rovers.”  Instructors from Texas Instruments brought a class set of robots and calculators to the classroom in order to teach the students, with the help of Ms. Jacobs and Ms. Chapman, how to use coding to program the robots.  Students began by programming the robots to make simple shapes, but quickly graduated to a much higher level of programming.

Inter-disciplinary  IB Math Projects

GT Geometry and Algebra I teacher, Chris Weiss, explains how students go beyond the curriculum to learn about other cultures while demonstrating skills in mathematics 
Japan math presentation

In my Algebra and Geometry classes this quarter, I had students complete a project in addition/conjunction with their curriculums.  We previewed several countries’ economic and demographic data (age structure, religions, ethnic groups, land usage, GDP, Labor force, import partners, and export partners) and then had student groups randomly choose a country.  They were required to convert the percentages to decimals and reduce fractions and make circle graphs to put on a poster board along with extras, which could include pictures, a map, the flag, people, etc.  A second piece of the project was for them to write at least three paragraphs analyzing the data and relating how their country would operate as a result of their location, neighbors, government, and economy.  The third and last piece of the project was to create a PowerPoint of at least 10 slides which highlighted the culture of the country, like a travel brochure.  The PowerPoint could include information about music, art, food, clothing, environment, landmarks, and tourist places to visit. math presentations

Students had a month to complete the project, either individually or with a partner, and then they were graded using an IB assessment rubric.  The projects earning the most points were displayed in the library and judged by their peers and faculty members. 

The benefit of this project is that it broadened their global view, while reinforcing math skills.  Hopefully learning about a different part of the world will promote more inquiry as students seek to learn more about countries outside of our own. 

Project Voting Results: 1st Place - JAPAN (Anna M. and Ireti A.) 
2nd Place - URUGUAY (Ezzah C.) 
3rd Place - COLOMBIA (Sarah C.)  

Chris Weiss - 8th Grade Mathematics Teacher 

Upcoming Events 

March 29, 2019 – 8th Grade Field Trip to the Science Center - $7 per student For information contact Ms. Gottschalk
April 3, 2019 – PTSA Paint Night  6:00 PM in the Stemmers Run Cafeteria.  Tickets are $25 and must be purchased in advanced.  For information  contact the PTSA President Sonya Sullens or Vice President Karen Wolf
April 5, 2019 – Last day of the 3rd Quarter – Half Day  

April 17, 2019 – 7th Grade Field Trip to Philadelphia  For information contact Ms. Tynes   

April 24, 2019 – PARCC Testing Begins    For information contact Mr. Piscopo  

April 24, 2019 – 8th Grade Washington DC Field Trip - $15 Per Student  For information contact Ms. Boyd; Ms. Hicks
April 25 - 26, 2019 – Addams Family Musical Production  - 7:00PM in the Auditorium Stemmers Run Auditorium - For information contact Ms. Blum Ms. Gauthier rgauthier@bcps.or or Mr. Arment 
April 30 – May 2, 2019 - 6th Grade Field Trip to Camp Puh’ Tok  For information contact Mr. Adams  

May 8, 2019 – Dance Recital – All Dance Classes - 7:00PM in the Auditorium  For information contact Ms. Graham 

May 10, 2019 – 8th Grade Dance 6:00 – 8:00PM in the SRMS Library - $10 per student For information contact Ms. Boyd; Ms. Bartosch 

May 13, 2019 – Chorus Concert – 7:00PM in the Auditorium  For information contact Mr. Arment  

May 15, 2019 – Band Concert – 7:00PM in the Auditorium  For information contact Mr. Adams or Ms. Bennett; 

May 20, 2019 – Orchestra Concert – 7:00PM in the Auditorium  For information contact Ms. Bennett  

June 1, 2019 – Music in the Parks Trip (For Music Programs – Supported by the PTSA)  For information contact Mr. Adams, Ms. Bennett, or Mr. Arment;;  

June 6, 2019 – 8th Grade Picnic - Cost TBA For information contact Ms. Boyd  

June 11, 2019 – 8th Grade Farewell – 6:00PM @ Kenwood High School Tickets distributed 6/7/19.  Four tickets per family.  For information contact Ms. Boyd   
Athletic Events 
For information contact Mr. Stichel   
Track & Field – Patapsco High School - April 13th & May 4th @ 9:00AM 
Tennis – CCBC Essex – April 27th & May 11th 1:30PM – 4:30PM

 Support or Parent Teacher Student Association
 The Stemmers Run Parent Teacher Student Association is dedicated to supporting the needs of our school, students, and community.  The PTSA meets the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 PM.  Please join us as we make a positive difference in our children's lives. 

For information please contact: 
President - Sonya Sullens  
Vice President - Karen Wolf 
Fundraising Chair - Meridith Thanner 
Treasurer - Katie Bennett 
Our PTSA Hosted a Great Ice Skate Night
skate night
On February 28, 2019 the PTSA hosted a skate night at the White Marsh Avenue Ice Skate Rink.  The purpose of the fundraiser was to support the sixth grade Camp Puh’Tok trip.  The Camp Puh’ Tok trip is a three-day trip for sixth graders from April 30 – May 2, 2019.  The trip is an opportunity for our students to participate in environmental education activities as well as character development activities, while spending two nights in cabins with their peers.  The PTSA’s support for trips like this one, making it more affordable to our families, is just one of the many great services that they provide for our school community.