Archive for September, 2016

MHS Named Blue Star School

September 26, 2016

Please join us in congratulating Middlesex High School on once again being named a Blue Star School by the W!SE Financial Literacy Certification Program. This honor is the result of at least 80% of the school’s financial literacy students achieving at least an 85% pass rate on the W!SE Financial Literacy Certification Test.

In a statement W!SE officials expressed their appreciation to the exemplary teachers at MHS, and other exceptional teachers across the Commonwealth: “We at W!SE are both grateful for and impressed at the accomplishments of Virginia’s educators as they relate to teaching personal finance.”

Well done MHS!

Make a Difference. Volunteer!

September 26, 2016

Looking for something to do to fill your day?  Why not be a volunteer?

Yeah, I know volunteering takes time and energy, and it can be hard work.  You might find yourself doing and learning new things which can be challenging and even a little scary.  So why does anyone even want to go there?

Well, here’s a reason:

Volunteering is good for OTHERS!

The world is far from perfect, and many children, schools, and places in the community need help.  In our school system, administrators, teachers & staff try to meet every child’s needs, but it is impossible for them to do it all.

Volunteers can make a difference when someone or something needs help.  When we volunteer our time, money, or talents, we help make our school system or community a better, more productive environment where people work together to make life easier for all.

Need another reason to volunteer?  How about this one:

Volunteering is good for YOU!!

I know you’re thinking, “Right, what’s in it for me?” The answer is, plenty!

By volunteering for an ongoing program, volunteers can see growth and change.  Whether working with children who are learning to read or mastering a new math skill, volunteers can actually see progress and achievement first hand. This reinforces the volunteer’s own sense of worthiness and validity of our school system.

Here are some other things you receive in return for volunteering:

  • Make new friends
  • Gain important skills & experience that may benefit you in another aspect of your life
  • Make connections that can lead to a job or career
  • See more of your community
  • Build confidence & self-esteem
  • Feel needed & important
  • Gain satisfaction at getting things done & helping others
  • Tap into your creative side
  • Get active & healthier
  • Relieve stress
  • Fight boredom
  • Spend time doing something that makes a difference
  • Feel like you are part of the community
  • Have fun!

There’s nothing more fulfilling than realizing how much of an impact a volunteer can make. Volunteers working together to organize the purchase of school supplies or feed the children of our community can follow-up and see for themselves how the project has enriched the students’ lives.  Just a few hours of helping can turn into a lifetime of opportunity which is one of the greatest benefits of volunteering.

Hmmm…It looks like being a volunteer gives as much good stuff to you as it does to those you are trying to help! That, my friends, is the secret of volunteering. People who become volunteers usually lead richer, happier, and more satisfying lives than those who don’t volunteer.

Organizations all over the world depend on the giving nature of volunteers. But volunteers reap satisfaction and numerous benefits from volunteering too.  By just giving a little bit of your time, you can make a huge difference in the life of a student, teacher or organization.

Ready to get involved at MCPS? Check out how to be a volunteer at

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go To School!

September 6, 2016

I’m not going to sugar-coat it; getting your children up and out the door for school is a royal pain, especially when the parent also has to be at work in the morning and can’t do the “drop-off in the pj pants, sweatshirt, coffee cup in the non-driving hand” routine.

The cast of characters in my house are in eleventh, ninth and seventh grades, so I’ve been herding kids to school for a long time. Take it from a seasoned pro, there are a couple of tricks of the trade that can streamline the morning chaos.

The Night Before
1)  Pack lunches and fill water bottles.  Doing it when it’s late and you or the kids are tired beats racing to do it when it’s early and you or the kids are tired.  Hot lunch fanatics?  Put notes on your calendar to check the balance of your lunch account in a couple of times a month to make sure you are not approaching the maximum $5 charge limit.  Better yet, set up an automatic payment plan which replenishes your account whenever it dips below $5.  If you pay for lunch with cash, make sure you have the correct amount in a baggie or wallet ready for your child.
2)  Pick out tomorrow’s outfit.  It also never hurts to have a backup in case your child wakes up in a mood and changes their mind when it’s time to get dressed.  That way, the potential ten-minute, “But I don’t want to wear THAT today!” discussion can hopefully be tackled in two seconds with an, “Okay, here you go, then!” at-hand solution.
3)  Check for any due library books, permission slips, homework to turn in, etc. and be sure they are all filed in the right kid’s backpack.
4)  Put the backpacks by the front door.  You’d think they’re too big to lose.  You’d be wrong.
5)  Have each kid put their shoes on top of their backpack.  Put a sock in each shoe.

The Morning of
6)  No electronics!.  One kid gets ready early and turns on YouTube or a video game, and you can forget about it.  Children who are ready early may read.
7)  Avoid open-ended dialogue at all costs:  NOT “What do you want for breakfast?”  Try, “Oatmeal or Waffles?”  Going through all the possibilities wastes lots of time and can make you cranky.  It’s important to have a default breakfast that they know they’ll always get if they don’t like the choices.  At our house, it is cereal.
8)  Stick to the either/or rule: “Blue jacket or red?”  “Pigtails or ponytails?” rather than, “Which jacket do you want?” or “How should we do your hair?”
9)  If your child takes any medication, make sure it is put out on the table so it can be taken with breakfast.  If you sometimes have to serve toast in the car while you drive to school because you missed that window for a sit-down breakfast, keep a bottle or two of water in the car to wash down any meds.  You do have back-up breakfast or energy bars stashed in your glove box, right?
10)  Monitor your child’s overall progress and help them stay focused on the tasks at hand.  Give everyone a ten- AND a five-minute warning before it’s time to go.
11)  Set the mood.  Be mellow even if you aren’t feeling it!  Discourage competitive racing in the morning, especially at the breakfast table.  Try to stay as calm and relaxed as possible, which hopefully will prevent upsetting and time-consuming blow-ups.  It is even more important to remain calm if you are running late.  Things take far longer when everyone is stressed out!

Bonus Tips!
12)  Check your watch, cell phone, or timepiece of choice against the school bell to see if it rings when your clock says it should.
13)  Before it’s time to get the kids up, get up and get yourself 100% ready to walk out the door.  This is the same principle as when you fly and the flight attendant stresses the value of placing your own oxygen mask on before assisting others.

Every family is different, so of course your morning may vary slightly…or drastically, but everyone can commiserate with the complexity of the morning routine.

Got excellent time and sanity saving tips?  Please share them in the comments below!


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