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Principal's Message

A Thousand Dreams at Newport Middle School

 

Fostering positive relationships between students during our societies turbulent times, is a primary focus at Newport Middle School. We believe that in order to bring peacefulness to our society, children must experience positive, nurturing relationships with significant adults and peers during their childhood. They need to learn to communicate effectively, to negotiate and resolve problematic issues, to defuse negative emotional exchanges with intellectual understanding and a wider repertoire of behavioral options, to celebrate positive emotional connections, and to develop compassion for others. In this way, they will grow to expect respect from others, and also to trust. If children continually spend their time with a small number of consistent others, then they are able to develop caring for them as individuals. Children need to live in an environment where it is possible to connect meaningfully with others, and this can only happen when the environment is small enough. This is the missing link in the bullying issue that confronts us daily in our society.

 

One of our greatest realities is that being a smaller school is very effective for creating vibrant, participatory, democratic individuals. Here, we value autonomy and self-responsibility, two other conditions necessary in our view to the development of good citizens. This is not to be confused with obedience in fulfilling solitary tasks assigned by others. Instead, this refers to self-determination the ability to predict consequences, set goals and make practical decisions to carry out those goals, to organize their time and materials, to accept accountability for their actions, and to alter their behavior and make amends when their previous decisions misfired. In order for children to learn how to be autonomous and self-directed, they need practice. They need chances to make decisions, complete with the freedom to analyze the resultant consequences and to make adjustments in their behavior in response to this new understanding.

 

Young people need to be allowed to engage with dignity in this process of failure. We learn from experiences that cause pain as well as those that cause comfort. At our school, we keep this in mind in our daily interactions with each other being gentle and understanding throughout. I, along with each teacher, spend time in conference with students who are in confusion or crisis. This shows the level of trust operating within our walls. Meaningful relationships with adults, once again, are critical here, because the understanding and input they receive help young people to handle the autonomy and power they truly do possess over their own lives. Even as it is, students see teachers as guides and assistants in their daily activities. Decision making generally is a dual process requiring teacher and student input. This teaches children to present their case confidently, as well as to listen to others’ opinions and presentations of information. We all must reserve the right to change our minds, given new information.

 

A school is a crossroads of activity and learning involving all adults and all children. We learn from each other, we connect within an extended familial community, and then we proceed outward into our own spheres of influence. We appreciate the autonomy that we have had to create crucial, meaningful decisions regarding the existence and operation of our school. We appreciate the opportunity to devise dreams to guide us. We need dreams to fulfill a vision of what we want to make of ourselves. For our learning is, after all, our own responsibility.

We see the provision of diversity in educational delivery systems as an essential element in the survival of schooling as we know it for the children of the future. There are many diverse needs among the youth of Carteret County. We live in a multi-cultural and philosophically diverse environment, wherein there are many variations in the expectations and hopes of parents, and teachers as well.

 

One standardized delivery system cannot meet all of these needs. I will emphasize that, even more than creating tolerance for diversity in pedagogy, we need to celebrate systems that explore and extend the options open to those who would be educators. For a department of education to encourage and assist this process, it would be wise to encourage the development of a variety of delivery systems, equally valuing all of them. Moreover, celebrating diversity in educational formats is wise for the same reason that it is necessary in ecological terms. In nature, from diversity come those crucial opportune elements that protect the system from the failures of monocultures if an environmental aberration occurs. Diversity provides evolutionary flexibility. Similarly, in education, diversity in delivery method and philosophy provides ideas for educational reform, because those ideas are already in successful practice. As I stated, new ideas are possible to implement!

 

We are here because of children and our hopes for them, because they are the future. We well know that who they become is intimately associated with what they experience when they are young. All children deserve a chance to approach their adulthood with hope, support, guidance, health, creative courage and intellectual stimulation. It is a suitable aim to open bridges for young people to gain knowledge and skill, critical and creative thinking, and social and environmental responsiveness. We need to help young people learn how to negotiate, how to solve differences, how to innovate, how to forgive, how to recognize success according to their own definitions, and how to belong. In this way, everyone may find some opening to growth, and each of us may contribute positively within our society, choosing work within the world that is constructive, satisfying, and challenging. We, adults, need to be dedicated to the learning and success of these vulnerable others who need our protection and our care. We need to be altruistic, in truth. We need to be careful with this responsibility that is ours. I have seen within my professional life, that all of these needs are met admirably in the small extended familial community that is Newport Middle School. I am thankful to share my learning experiences with you.

 

Every person’s experience of life is multi-dimensional, since different aspects of life occur together. We are social beings at the same time that we experience our inner emotions and values. We crave recreation and creative outlets, and at the same time, we need to find productive work. We need to care for the fulfillment of our own needs, and yet we also need to develop an unselfish empathy towards the needs of others. Life in schools is still life. We need to celebrate the great gift we have received in being alive, and in being able to learn about the world around us. By designing our school environment and our practical methods around the ideal of an effective extended family, we are most likely to encourage children’s growth in a holistic manner, to assist young people in their intellectual awakening, and to comfort them in their social grief. By providing diversity in the middle school developmental stages encountered within each group of children, we thus offer them resources among their peers to provide comfort or ideas for resolving problems. In this way, we may teach children how to handle their emotions, as they deal with the disputes that inevitably do occur between children as they are discovering social possibilities and altruistic behaviors. Through the input offered by their peers and caring adult mentors, young people learn that it is both helpful and wise to search for relevant causes of life’s daily challenges, and to come to understand how else they might respond to such situations in the future. This results in a more peaceful atmosphere, wherein children intuitively learn that they deserve to be listened to, to be accepted for their own unique selves, and to be affectionately cared for and respected during all moments of their days. Indeed, within our school, there are a myriad of changes we have wrought in the way children are presented with opportunities to grow. Newport Middle is a School of a Thousand Dreams where anything is possible and no dream is impossible to achieve. 

Principal Message of Hope - September

Dear Newport Parents and Guardians and Students, 

 

In spite of COVID-19, I hope you and your loved ones have been able to enjoy the late summer activities as we move quickly into the fall season. It has definitely made me realize that patience, flexibility and understanding are vital characteristics to work our way through this challenging time. The hallways here at Newport have been silent for too long. Our whole staff welcomes the students back and yes, we have missed them. Middle school aged kids are the best, and I’m blessed to be their principal. 

 

We will embrace the 2020-2021 school year with optimism and hope to make the Newport Student Experience  positive, productive and safe. Your child’s education and well being is extremely important to the staff and administration here at Newport Middle School.  We will continue to focus on enhancing and strengthening meaningful learning activities for the students regardless of the implemented learning models due to  COVID-19.  It will take all of us working as a TEAM to further the learning of your child during this unprecedented and very unpredictable time. 

 

Our success to deliver a year of learning to Newport students will depend on the commitment we share in the value of learning and the wellness and safety of each student.  Developing academic skills, obtaining increased knowledge, and connecting and collaborating with peers is paramount in growing life-long learners who become successful adults. Acknowledging social and emotional issues as well is  important for growing the whole student. 

 

Regardless of Plan A, B, or C, it will take us working as a team to ensure a successful learning experience for your middle school student. If your child is enrolled in 100% virtual, his or her learning expectations are the same as students learning in-person, as our teachers are reaching out daily to all students.

 

I will do my best to keep all of you informed of any changes that need to be made to Newport's schedule. Please be vigilant in checking texts, emails, phone calls and social media. Information will always be posted on Newport's website, Twitter page and Facebook page. Please contact me with your concerns so that we can work together to make this year the best it can be for your child and you!

 

I look forward to continuing to build positive relationships with your child and you as well as begin new ones with 6th grade students and families. I will work hard to lead our Newport TEAM as they provide the most student-centered learning experiences possible for our students in a safe and caring environment. Our Newport TEAM working together will contribute to the success of each student and their Eagle Experience. 

Principal Message - July 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

 

    It is with great pride and excitement that I write this letter of introduction to you as the newly appointed Principal of Newport Middle School.  I am honored to have the opportunity to lead a school with such a rich tradition of education!  I have been dedicated to the field of education for more than twenty two years.  I have worked with a variety of students' ranging in age from Kindergarten through and including college.  My most recent administrative experience was in Carteret County where I served as a Principal at East Carteret High.  I am excited and eager to bring my skills as an educational leader to Newport Middle School and work with you as a partner in education to ensure your child's success.

 

    Along with the teachers and staff, I will work hard to continue the legacy of success established by NMS by building strong relationships with parents, students and community partners.  We will focus on social character education initiatives, Common Core skills, the use of data to drive instruction, and to provide consistent implementation of the curriculum in a rigorous manner so that we can continue to increase all of the students' achievement.

 

   All of us at Newport Middle School are eager and excited to begin what promises to be the best year ever despite any challenges that face us with COVID 19.  This year is going to be amazing as we continue to provide academic experiences for our students that are rigorous, relevant, and help them build relationships while making real-world connections.  As your Principal, it is important to me that everyone who steps through our doors-teachers, students and parents-are excited to be here and know that we care!  This attitude enables us to meet the challenges of middle school life, the events in society and academic excellence in a positive, engaging, and nurturing environment.  My is door is always open and I welcome your input.  Please feel free to call or email me to discuss any concerns you might have throughout the school year.  

 

I look forward to working with you as a team to help each student at Newport Middle to meet their goals and have a safe and successful school year!

 

Best Regards,

Ms. Deborah Trogdon

Deborah.trogdon@carteretk12.org

What Lies Ahead

Dear Eagle Families –

 

As you know, we ended this school year with uncertainty about what next year will look like. CCPS is working diligently and coordinating with the State Board of Education planning for what school will look like when we return in the fall.

We are hopeful that we will continue to see additional state and federal funds to support public education in North Carolina next year. We do not yet have a complete picture of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our economy or how the state budget may be revised in light of this crisis. CCPS will share updates throughout the summer as the situation unfolds. You can also keep an eye on the events by watching the NMS website and CCPS website.

Our school team has been hard at work putting together guidance for families to keep supporting students with their unfinished learning from this school year. As much as our kids need time for play, time for rest, and time to explore, they also need to keep their skills up this summer. I encourage you to keep a little time set aside each day (or 3-5 days a week) to work on reading, writing, and math. Check out the student resources pages for ideas and activities. 

To assist with this, we have created tools to help you identify specific skills to work on for each grade level and have created a “menu” of options that might be helpful in guiding your students through unfinished learning this summer. 

I am so grateful to be a member of our incredible community. Over the last several months of remote learning, we achieved so much in the face of unprecedented challenges! We worked closely with our partner schools to provide meals to students in need during the pandemic. We’ve distributed almost that full amount in food assistance to support some of our most vulnerable families. We learned together how to do remote schooling, we celebrated our students’ learning, and we worked so hard to maintain the Eagle spirit even during these difficult times. Thank you to every single member of our community – staff, teachers, students, and families – for making 2019-2020 the best year it could be.

 

Please have a safe, happy, and healthy summer!

Ms. Deborah Trogdon

Principal NMS

Change is Inevitable

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher wrote: "Nothing endures but change."  Nowhere is this truer than in the field of Education at this time in history and here at ECHS as we face one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century in Education.  

 

There are no historical markers that can show us a pathway through what we face at this time - we are making history now.  What we do and how we respond to the COVID 19 pandemic as Educators will set the precedence for all that follow after us.   What an opportunity for us to "be the most brilliant color in the box" when all around us things look gloomy.  

 

Unemployment will continue to rise, financial stability is shaken to its foundations, human life is being lost, on and on....   However, through all of these tragic events, we as Educators can remain the rock of certainty - the life raft for students to cling to - the one assurance in the lives of young learners that they can count on.  

 

I thank each of you for all you are doing daily; reaching out to students, adjusting lessons, flowing with the ever changing directives from DPI/ SBE/ CDC/CCS and maintaining a positive message to your students who depend on you to be the constant in their lives at this time.

 

COVID 19 will change Education as did many historical events from our past. Each time major change has taken place, we have emerged BETTER, STRONGER, and MORE CONFIDENT to transform Education into something far greater than it was before.  What we do now will determine what our current outcome will look like in the near future.  

 

Let history reflect that Professional Educators led the way through the COVID 19 pandemic. Let history say we were the rudder that steadied the ship, that we prepared a generation of students who could be flexible, collaborative, accommodating, pliant, and most of all willing to accept change and move forward.  

 

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families

In These Times Remember

Eagle Family,

 

As we pivoted to a remote learning model until May 15 and beyond, we are all venturing into uncharted territory, but we have our compass and we know our direction. We are Mariner Strong and can weather any storm sent our way as we put the safety and security of people before ourselves. 

 

We are asking all of NC, our 115 district superintendents, our 2,500 school principals, and our 184 charter schools to create systems and processes that adapt to the changing circumstances we are facing. School districts like ours have learned to treat adversity as opportunity and find the silver linings to every situation. Families taking care of families. Our district leaders looked at the problem through the eyes of children: How could a food delivery system be designed to ensure that each child eats even though he or she is not on our campuses? We are meeting those challenges and more. 

 

We are challenging 100,000 North Carolina educators to do something never done before — to teach and inspire and love our 1.5 million public school children and to leave no child behind — even though our buildings are closed. We are engaging parents and families as the true stakeholders you are by setting up remote home schools at kitchen tables across our state.

 

We will flatten the COVID-19 curve. We will feed and educate children. We will innovate our way through this pandemic. And we will be stronger together on the other side.

 

Deborah Trogdon

deborah.trogdon@carteretk12.org

Go Eagles!