Cullman Middle School Guidance Newsletter October 2018

Grading at Cullman Middle School

At CMS each 6 weeks grade counts 30% and the semester exam counts 10% toward the semester average. The semester average is the grade that is used to determine if a student has passed or failed a course. Each semester a student will have 4 academic grades, ( English, math, science, and social studies), for a total of 8 academic grades per school year. A student must pass 6 out of 8 academic semesters to be promoted to the next grade level. A student may make up 2 semester failing grades through summer school courses. Parents and students can use the formula below to calculate an estimate of their semester average. Utilize the grades that are found on Canvas to help your student estimate their semester average in the 4 academic courses.


1st 6 weeks grade _______x 3= _______

2nd 6 weeks grade ______x3=________

3rd 6 weeks grade_______x3=________

Semester exam grade.............+________


Sum________Divided by 10=_________

Homework and Class Assignment Grades

Homework and classwork completion can have a huge impact on a students report card grade. At CMS it is our goal to help all students become responsible for their homework and classwork. It is important to keep in mind that once a student enters the 9th grade each graded item will count toward their Grade Point Average. A students GPA will be reviewed by colleges for admission into their schools and programs. Click on the button below to view some examples of a student gradebook.

Scantron Performance Assessment

This year students are continuing to take the Scantron Assessment in the Fall and Spring in order to show student growth. This assessment is the current assessment required by the Alabama State Department of Education. 7th grade students take the test in the subjects of reading, math, and science. 8th grade students are assessed in reading and math only. The assessment gives students a grade level equivalency score which shows at which grade level the students are currently performing. Click the button below for the parent guide to Scantron Performance Series Assessments.

What Does My School Counselor Do?

School counselors are responsible for the development and implementation of the comprehensive guidance and counseling program for their schools. This includes programming to support students growth and development in 3 domains: academics, careers, and personal/social. School counselors are also responsible for assisting with academic planning which included the development of student schedules. School counselors provide responsive services to address immediate needs of students and make referrals to outside community agencies when appropriate. Click the buttons below for more information on what your school counselor does at CMS as well as the American School Counselor Association publication regarding the role of school counselors.

Setting SMART Goals

Goal setting is an important skill for middle school students to begin to develop. When writing goals students need to make sure their goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Encourage your student to set both short term and long term academic and personal goals. Help motivate them to reach their goals by offering rewards. An added bonus of using some rewards is that you can build in ways to spend time with your child, this is still very important for middle school students, even though they now prefer to spend time with their peers. Examples of rewards:

  • movie night
  • have a friend over for a spend the night
  • go out to eat at a restaurant of their choice
  • extra I pad or video game time
  • no chores for a day/week

Learning Styles and Study Skills

All students learn and process information differently. A learning style is the preferential way in which a student absorbs, processes, comprehends, and retains information. One of the most accepted forms of learning styles is that students fall into one of three categories: visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. Watch the video below for more information on learning styles!

What Is Your Learning Style

Click on the button below to take an online learning styles assessment.

Study Skills Based On Learning Style

Visual Learner

  • Write down quotes, lists, etc.
  • Look at speakers while they are talking to stay focused
  • Work in a quiet place
  • Study both by yourself and in study groups
  • Take a lot of notes, and leave extra space to add missed details
  • Rewrite your notes, this will help you recall the information
  • Use color to highlight main ideas in your notes, textbooks, handouts,etc.
  • Preview a chapter before reading it by first looking at all the pictures, section headings, etc.
  • Write Vocabulary words and study guide questions on index cards with short definitions and answer on the back. Look through them frequently.

Auditory Learner

  • Study with a parent or friend so that you can talk out loud and hear the information
  • Recite quotes, lists, dates, etc.
  • Read aloud whenever possible
  • Have a parent or friend quiz you on vocabulary words; recite the word and definition out loud
  • Read or summarize your notes onto a tape or podcast and listen to the notes two or three times in preparation for a test
  • After you read a section of text, summarize it out loud
  • When doing complicated math problems, use graph paper to help with alignment
  • Use color and graphic symbols to highlight main ideas in your notes, textbooks, handouts, etc. Read those highlighted portions out loud

Kinesthetic Learners

  • To memorize, pace or walk around while reciting to yourself, looking at a list, or studying index cards
  • When reading a textbook chapter, first look at the pictures, then read the summary or end-of chapter questions, then look over the section headings and bold words.
  • If you need to fidget when in class, try squeezing a nerf ball or crossing your legs and bouncing the foot that is off the floor. Experiment with other ways of moving; just be sure you are not making noise or disturbing others.
  • At home try studying while lying on your stomach or back. Also, try studying with light music in the background.
  • Use a bright piece of construction paper in your favorite color as a desk blotter. This is called color grounding and it can help you focus.
  • When studying take frequent breaks
  • Move around as you study different topics
  • Organize information into charts, graphs, and models. Constructing these physical representations will give you a hands-on experience with abstract concepts.

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