Dear Families of ETMS,
October 24, 2014 will mark Mr. Fitzpatrick’s final day
serving as our Assistant Principal at ETMS. He will be leaving us to begin a
new chapter in his life, serving as the Principal at Veronica Connor Middle
School in the Grand Island Central School District. I can think of no one more
deserving of this honor. Mr. Fitzpatrick has served as an administrator at ETMS
for over 9 years and replacing him will be a very big challenge. We have all
grown secure in knowing his many talents and gifts as he helped create the
culture of expectations that shape our school.
Mr. Fitzpatrick was always an advocate of doing what was
best for our students. He was consistently honest, hard- working and committed
to our students, families, school, district and community. No task was too
large or too difficult. He was in the truest sense, a home-grown Falcon-
someone who graduated from Niagara Wheatfield, taught for several years at our
schools and then served as an administrator here. He excelled every step of the
Grand Island has great hopes for his ability to lead. They
certainly did their work at finding the very best person for the task at hand.
We know that they have no idea to what extent they are about to receive a man
of wisdom, experience, faith, and humility. He is an amazing one-of-a-kind
I would like to thank Mr. Fitzpatrick for his many years of
service to the children of this district. I do not need to wish him well; I
already know that he will make a very positive impact at Grand Island. We have
been enormously blessed having worked alongside Mr. Fitzpatrick. He is
unmatched in knowing the community, the people and his responsibilities. I will
greatly miss our nine year partnership. I expect you too will recognize his
absence in so many ways. On behalf of all of us here at ETMS, we thank you Mr.
Fitzpatrick for always going above and beyond in every circumstance for our
Laura Palka, Ph.D.
Dr. Laura Palka- Principal Contact by Email Mr. John Fitzpatrick- Assistant Principal Contact by Email
Let Them Grow!
Welcome to 2014-2015
From Dr. Laura Palka, Principal
The 2014-2015 school year is almost ready to begin! We fully anticipate a fabulous beginning to our year and as we continue to make final preparations, we thank you in advance for your patience and support! Each year, our students demonstrate their enthusiasm, energy and passion to learn and belong; this year should be no different.Please remember that in the start of every school year, we make adjustments to schedules, however teacher changes are very unlikely to happen. Your child will make new friends, rekindle former friendships, perhaps heal past relationships and take important steps in adapting to new situations and challenges.
As a parent, when our child cries or whines, our natural inclination is to want to make everything "better" by jumping in, however, sometimes too quickly. In reality, we may fix the immediate perceived crisis but in doing so, we miss those crucial opportunities to allow for real growth and maturing. Our role is to guide our children as they grow, not fight every battle. We want to help our children learn to prioritize, advocate, cope and become courageous. Middle school years are filled with drama and excitement. Our reactions can either aid in making these some of the best years for your child or some of the most difficult.
Start and end every day with positive family sharing. Do not rush to hear the "bad news". Do not promote the drama. Do not speak negatively about teachers, other children or their families, as you are adding fuel to the fire and not helping your child. You are allowing yourself to be part of the systemic problem (bullying or creating a victim). More often than not, if you listen with empathy and allow him or her time to express what is upsetting, your child will actually figure out how to remedy the situation without any further help... and really, isn't that what we hope to have happen?
To become well-adjusted adults, we had to learn, through experience, to look at any given situation and determine a course of action, knowing all action results in consequences. Yes, middle school can be difficult on parents. We have to gradually release our children and recognize that they make decisions- right or wrong- without us. They have to learn the variables of consequences. When they make a poor choice or feel anxious- they turn to home for help (as it should be). Teach your child and the entire family the 24 hour rule....no decision- no reactions for 24 hours....and to a middle school student....24 hours is a whole lifetime away!
Looking forward to a wonderful, fun-filled year together!
A Message Regarding Bullying
Everyone is concerned about bullying and harassment. It is part of the way some people in our society have learned to cover their unhealthy social and emotional issues. It has to do with people who are unhappy, feel a lack of personal, self control and cannot figure out how to appropriately deal with others. Bullies lack self respect and attempt to find it through threatening others. Bullies lack personal coping skills and are fearful they themselves will not measure up. Often, they will resort to finding others with similar fears and problems. Forming a group mentality and constantly harassing and belittling others can give the group some false sense of power and control. We are not talking about the occasional upsets that everyone deals with at some level throughout life. We are talking about a person or group targeting another individual or group. It simply cannot be tolerated at any level.
As a school, we attempt to do whatever we can do through counseling, mediations, and consequences. Sometimes we do not get information until much of the damage has been done. People need to use their voices and actions to stop bullies. We need to teach our children to stand up for what is right and not be silenced by fear. It is difficult and requires constant role modeling. As a school we recognize that the relationships we build with students can make all the difference. We recognize we must give a voice to students. We also expect parents, not only to be their child’s advocate, but the moral compass from which words and actions become a reality. So much of bullying and harassment occur through the very technology we have provided to our children at much too early an age. It is so easy to Facebook, text or Twitter messages that can destroy another person’s self esteem and reputation. Parents must take a stand when their own child misuses technology. If your child uses these avenues to hurt another- take away the computer, get him or her off Facebook, and take away the cell phone. Your child is not mature enough for these responsibilities. You would take away the car; why not technologies?
As a school we have several positive ways to deal with bullying. We utilize Falcon Fundaments as the basis of how we need to act responsibly at school. Falcon Fundamentals are announced during Homeroom and taught by educators. We recognize students who practice the Fundamentals on a monthly basis. We use a Reflection Form connected to Counselor mediations as well as one for In School Suspension. At the Middle School we offer students a Bullying Stops Here Form to report bullying. We additionally hold a Leadership Lunch Program as well as assemblies on bullying, disability awareness, and student celebrations.
Most importantly, we want a partnership between parents, students, and the school in order to stand committed to stopping the hurt and anger that results from bullying. Every person has the right to come to school and work feeling safe. Harassment or violence related to race, color, sex, national origin, disability, religion, or socioeconomic status is discrimination. Those who discriminate are bullies. It must end.
ETMS... Where Falcons Earn Their Wings!